News / Europe

EU Report Slams Curbs Put on Turkish Media

European Parliament
European Parliament
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid