News / Europe

EU Report Slams Curbs Put on Turkish Media

European Parliament
European Parliament

The European Union is criticizing Turkey for the rising number of prosecutions against journalists. E.U. concerns have been raised in an annual progress report on the country's bid to join the bloc.  

The annual European Union report on Turkey said while there is increasing open and free debate over sensitive issues such as minority rights, concerns were raised over press freedom.

A member of the European Parliament committee on Turkey, Richard Howitt, addressed the bloc's concerns.

"Without doubts, over some years now we have raised issues about websites being blocked, about writers being in jail.  There are still too many journalists in jail," said Howitt.

According to human-rights groups, the number of jailed journalists has steadily increased in the past few years, reversing an earlier decline.  

Last month, the international media watchdog Reporters Without Borders noted Turkey had slipped in its ranking of press freedom this year to 138 from 123 in 2009, now occupying a spot between Singapore and Ethiopia.

The EU report also voices its concern over the pressure on media organizations.  It cited the billion-dollar tax fine against the country's largest media group, which is also seen as being critical of the government.  But the government has dismissed such concerns, saying there is no policy of intimidation, and the judiciary is independent.  

Last month, CNN Turk, the Turkish version of the popular cable news channel CNN, was fined and received a warning from the state body that monitors media activity. CNN Turk had presented an interview that was deemed to have been personally critical of the prime minister and president. The warning sent shock waves through the media.

The anchor and editor of one of country's main news TV shows, Mehmet Ali Birand, says critical reporting is becoming increasingly difficult.

"Well everyone is going to be much more careful on what they say. No criticism will be the order of the day. We will not be able say anything wrong, which will be interpreted in a negative way from the prime minister."

Birand's program is also under investigation and facing a heavy fine for interviewing family members of soldiers killed by the Kurdistan Workers' Party.  

The EU report also cited the growing number of Internet sites being closed by the courts as another area of concern. There are nearly 6,000 sites that are banned.  

Earlier this month, a two-and-one-half-year ban was lifted on "YouTube," but only days later another ban was enforced. The popular social networking site Facebook also may be banned. In all the cases, a court found the content of certain Web pages seditious or disrespectful.

Media Studies Professor Haluk Sahin, of Istanbul's Bilgi University, says the situation is out of control.

"Turkey finds itself mentioned alongside autocratic countries such as Iran and North Korea and Sudan - amongst the worst censors of the Internet.  But you talk to politicians, like the president, President Gul says, you know, we do not like stuff like this, but nobody seems to move a finger."

The minister for EU affairs, Ergemen Bagis, responded to the report, saying there were no surprises in it.  But with strong opposition to Turkey's bid from country's like Germany and France, political scientist Cengiz Aktar of Bahcesehir University says the accession process has come to virtual halt.

"Turkey's E.U. relation is dying every day.  It has become an open-ended process.  Plus negative remarks by [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy, made this process a genuine disincentive."  

Apathy is seen as a major reason why the latest EU report received little media coverage in Turkey.  In the past, it dominated the headlines.  But some critics say the media may be more reluctant to carry critical news of the government these days.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid