PRESS RELEASE published on 03 Aug 2016

EBU urges Turkish government to respect freedom of expression

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) urges the Turkish government to exercise restraint and respect freedom of expression and the freedom of the media following the decree of 27 July to close three news agencies, 16 television and 23 radio stations, 15 magazines, 45 newspapers and 29 publishers and distributors.

The union also condemns the arrest of 89 journalists and the harassment and intimidation of local and international reporters covering the aftermath of the failed coup and the restrictions placed on travel for journalists both leaving and returning to Turkey.

 “We believe the right  to  freedom  of  expression  and  information  takes  precedence  over  political  or  economic  interests,  and  the Turkish government has  a  duty  to  ensure  and  protect  this fundamental cornerstone of democracy,” said EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre. 

The union was deeply alarmed by the attack on the studios and the threats made against employees of our Member TRT by coup supporters on 15 July. The violation of the independence of public service media is an attack on democracy and the fundamental rights of citizens.

Attempts to restrict access to news and information pose a huge threat to the functioning of democracy.

The EBU believes above all that free and critical journalism plays an indispensable role in supporting a peaceful and prosperous society and therefore calls on the Turkish government to ensure that the media can operate without constraint going forward and free from fear and threats.