#IndexAwards2019: P24 aims to neutralise Turkey's censorship

P24 (Platform for Independent Journalism) has been nominated in the Campaigning category

14 Mar 2019

P24 (Platform for Independent Journalism) is a civil society organisation with an ambitious program to neutralise censorship in Turkey — a country in which speaking freely courts fines, arrest and lengthy jail sentences.

Turkey has become increasingly hostile to dissent in recent years. It recently replaced the emergency rule that started after the 2016 failed putsch with a presidential system in which executive powers are often unchecked. The country is the world’s largest jailer of journalists: some 183 journalists and media workers are in prison at the time of writing, including many in pre-trial detention.

But journalists are not the only ones in danger: academics, artists and ordinary Turks expressing dissent have faced legal sanctions, economic pressure, and even arrests. In a famous case, a woman was detained after being overheard criticising the Turkish president – while talking to a friend on a bus. Even some of P24’s workers have been detained, although not for their work with the organisation.

What makes P24 impressive is that it has been able to mount an ambitious programme even in such a high-risk environment, providing a glimmer of hope for civil society in Turkey. It has created a set of mutually reinforcing activities to promote free expression and fight to fill the democratic deficit.

Its legal team defends journalists and academics who are on trial because they exercised their right to free expression. P24 does its legal work on a pro bono basis, hoping to set important precedents in the Turkish legal system.

P24 also undertakes coordinated social media and public advocacy that include live-tweeting from courtrooms and campaigning through an array of websites, newsletters and exhibition spaces. One of its efforts — Expression Interrupted – is a website and newsletter tracking the progress of freedom of expression cases throughout the country.

P24 also provides safe spaces for freedom of expression. Susma24 is an outreach programme in which it brings together local bar associations and artistic communities. Through K24 and KIRAATHANE, its newly launched literature house, P24 also offers freelance opportunities and visibility to those excluded from the mainstream by the government’s ongoing stifling of dissent.

P24, one of Turkey’s most active civil society organisations secured the release of a young photographer, Cağdaş Erdoğan. While Erdoğan has been able to exhibit in Europe,  no Turkish gallery wanted to show his photography – so P24 organised an exhibition in its new Literature House “KIRAATHANE”, one of its latest initiatives. In 2018, P24 also published three books on journalism, innovation and media freedom in its media library.

2019 Freedom of Expression Awards

Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards exist to celebrate individuals or groups who have had a significant impact fighting censorship anywhere in the world.

This Week at Index: Free speech is for me – the class of 2020

Free speech is in danger of being co-opted by extremists. This has led to all sorts of effects on our societies, from “deplatforming” on social media and in debates, to proposed laws on curbing speech which might cause offence. Here at Index, we want to push back against that.

This Week at Index: A look back at 2019, and a new issue

This week, Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced that he would resign in January – news which was welcomed by all those who have been protesting regularly for him to quit – but which also prompted calls that he should go immediately

Cartoonists Rights Network International continues to monitor the loss of cartoonists from media outlets around the world

Since winning the 2019 Index Award for Campaigning, CRNI has been monitoring the situation with Badiucao, a Chinese dissident cartoonist living in exile in Australia

Journalism 2019

Mimi Mefo is the 2019 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards Journalism Fellow

One response to “#IndexAwards2019: P24 aims to neutralise Turkey’s censorship”

  1. umit peres says:

    I don’t quite understand your use of the term “neutralize censorship” to describe the programmatic objective of this organization. Any organization,in any part of the world fighting against government repression of freedom of expression and media aims at removal of censorship and reestablishment of a rule of law state. Since no part of the fight against authoritarianism is abot “neutralizing”state practices,
    the use of the term is a misnomer.