Turkey: Increased pressure on journalists jeopardises public interest
Escalating pressure on media has significantly impacted journalists' ability to report on matters of public interest
02 Nov 15

The International Press Institute (IPI) released a report on the Joint International Emergency Press Freedom Mission to Turkey undertaken last week by a broad coalition of international free expression and press freedom groups.

The report builds on mission participants’ finding that escalating pressure on media in the period between parliamentary elections in June and repeat polls set for Sunday has significantly impacted journalists’ ability to report on matters of public interest and is likely to “have a significant, negative impact on the ability of voters in Turkey to share and receive necessary information, with a corresponding effect on Turkey’s democracy”.

It does so through 10 brief chapters by mission participants that set forth details on main areas of concern that the participants identified in a joint declaration last week following the close of the mission. The report also contains an evaluation of the degree to which authorities in Turkey have heeded recommendations that IPI set forth six months ago in its report, “Democracy at Risk, IPI Special Report on Turkey, 2015”, concluding that authorities have largely failed to take necessary steps to remedy ongoing threats to media freedom.

“Pressure on media has continued to increase following our mission and we remain extremely concerned about the deteriorating state of press freedom in Turkey and its impact both on the Nov. 1 elections and beyond,” IPI Director of Advocacy and Communications Steven M. Ellis said. “We again call for an immediate end to all efforts to hinder or prevent journalists from giving voters in Turkey the information they need to make an informed decision about their future.”

From Oct. 19 to 21, mission participants met in Istanbul and Ankara with journalists, political representatives and foreign diplomats to demonstrate solidarity with their colleagues in the news media in Turkey and to focus attention in Turkey and abroad on the impact the growing pressure on independent media is likely to have on the Nov. 1 election.

The unprecedented mission brought together representatives from eight leading international press freedom and free expression groups, including IPI, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Article 19, Index on Censorship and the Ethical Journalism Network. Delegates were also joined by members of the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) and IPI’s National Committee in Turkey.

The full report can be read here.