World Press Freedom Day Draws Attention to Plight of Turkish Journalists

Action at the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam

On World Press Freedom Day, which was observed on May 3, activists all over the world drew attention to the impact rising authoritarianism has had on press freedom and journalists. For the third year in a row, Turkey had the ignominious honor of imprisoning more journalists than any other country in the world. Driving the point home, on May 3, Turkey’s Constitutional Court rejected the appeals of journalists Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak, finding that their rights were not violated when they were convicted of attempting to overthrow the government.

To amplify the voices of Turkey’s embattled journalists, Amnesty Turkey launched a campaign under the hashtag #NeHaberGazeteci, translated roughly as “How is it going, journalists?” Amnesty also interviewed jailed journalists and published full letters from them online.

Amnesty’s Press Coordinator Beril Eski visited both the Bakırköy women’s prison and the infamous Silivri prison to interview these imprisoned journalists. Journalist Reyhan Hacıoğlu told Eski that “They [the authorities] fear the press. I wish all these human rights violations had not taken place so that we would not have to write about them, but unfortunately they happened.” When I asked what she missed the most about the outside world,  Hacıoğlu replied, “I miss reporting news about a better country”.

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