Which country in the world currently imprisons more journalists than any other? The People’s Republic of China? Nope. Iran? Wrong again. The rather depressing answer is the Republic of Turkey, where nearly 100 journalists are behind bars, according to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Yes, that’s right: modern, secular, western-oriented Turkey, with its democratically elected government, has locked away more members of the press than China and Iran combined.
PEN Turkey Decries Lack of Local Coverage of Taksim Square Protests
PEN is closely watching developments in Turkey, where demonstrations against plans to raze a beloved park and build a shopping mall in Istanbul have grown into wider, anti-government protests over the overly-aggressive tactics of riot police. The events unfolding in Istanbul are front-page news around the world, and social media like Twitter have been alight with images from Turkey of men and women being sprayed with tear gas, and with faces bloodied by thrown gas canisters, including that of journalist Ahmet Şik.
By contrast, television stations in Turkey have carried little coverage of the protests, which have spread well beyond Taksim Square to scores of towns and cities, nor the heavy-handed police response against protestors. Today our colleagues at PEN Turkey released this statement protesting this de facto censorship of this important unfolding story:
PRO-DEMOCRACY PROTESTS AND CENSORSHIP UNDER ERDOGAN’S GOVERNMENT
Some TV companies in Turkey have refused to show the massive pro-democracy protests against the oppressive regime of Prime Minister Erdoğan and his government. The democratic demonstrations against the worsening oppression are both a form of expression and a defense of the freedom of expression. The TV stations that do not show the protests are lying by their silence. Didn’t there used to be something called “professional honor?”
The silent TV channels that do not show related news have become news in the world! This shame will last throughout the lives of the managements of those channels, and it will even be a “legacy,” a heavy burden on the shoulders of their successors.
We invite those TV channels to begin honest news broadcasting.
NBC News: Hundreds of riot police clashed with protesters in Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Tuesday, as protests against the government of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan intensified.
The latest violence began Tuesday morning when police moved past barriers erected by the protesters and into the square to scatter a small number of people who have been camped there to protest against a planned redevelopment of the square.