Monday, February 8, 2010

Bianet Releases Annual Media Freedom Report

Bianet has now released its full annual report of media freedom violations in 2009. From the release:
The process of the "Kurdish initiative" imposed a muzzle to freedom of expression. The 2009 Media Monitoring Report by the Independent Communication Network (BİA) Media Monitoring Desk revealed that 323 people, among them 123 journalists, were tried in the context of freedom of thought and freedom of expression.

Three years after the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, the state's indifference to violence against journalists lead to the death of Güney Marmara Yaşam newspaper editor-in-chief Cihan Hayırsevener. Hayırsevener was writing about organized crime and corruption in tenders.

The Anti-Terror Act (TMY), which was not accounted for as "in contrary to the Constitution" by the Constitutional Court, silenced nine newspapers and magazines: Günlük, Özgür Yorum, Politika, Ayrıntı, Azadiya Welat, Özgür Mezopotamya, Demokratik Açılım and Atılım newspapers and Aydınlık magazine. One-month publication bans were imposed once or in some cases more than once.

The report tackles the struggles and cases of 978 people. Violations of freedom of expression are divided into the following sections: Attacks and Threats, Detentions and Arrests, Cases on Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression, Corrections and Seeking Justice, European Court of Human Rights, Reactions to Censorship and Punishments by RTÜK.

47 people, 22 of them journalists, were prosecuted in 2009 under charges of "publishing pronouncements of terror organizations", "spreading propaganda for an illegal organization" or "revealing people struggling against terrorism as targets". 23 people were sentenced to 58 years imprisonment and monetary fines of 9,749 Turkish Lira (TL) (€ 4,640). However, this is a small number compared to 44 convicts and thus twice as many convictions under the TMY in 2008.

. . . .

34 journalists among 101 Turkish citizens were sentenced to 98 years and five days imprisonment and compensation claims summing up to TL 1,408,680 (€ 670,800) under charges of "attacks on personal rights". Local courts in 2009 decreed for a total of nine years, three months and 6 days imprisonment and monetary fines of TL 41,290 (€ 19,660). In the previous year, 74 people received prison sentences of 77 years and faced compensation claims of TL 1,885,500.
The report also documents relevant decisions made at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), as well as new applications the ECHR received last year.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) convicted Turkey to a total fine of TL 472,392 (€ 225,000) in compensation. In the previous year, this amount added up to TL 183,801 (€ 87,525). 11,100 complaint files concerned with Turkey are currently waiting to be dealt with at the ECHR.

26 employees of Ülkede Özgür Gündem, Gündem, Güncel ve Gerçek Demokrasi newspapers sought their rights at the ECHR together with Seyithan Demir, İsmail Kara, Ömer Bahçeci, Fikret Turan, Cihan Öztürk, Aziz Özer, İbrahim Güçlü, Sedat İmza, Ayhan Erdoğan, Mehmet Cevher İlhan, Rüya Kurtuluş, Erdinç Gök, Haşim Özgür Ersoy, İnci Açık, Serpil Ocak, Ayfer Çiçek, Nuri Günay and Murat Kaya.

The following new applications were made to the ECHR in 2009: the Hrant Dink murder, publication bans imposed to Özgür Mezopotamya, Özgür Görüş, Rojev, Siyasi Alternatif and Süreç newspapers, Internet Technology Association (INETD) in regard to the ban of, Birecik'in Sesi newspaper official Şevket Demir, Siirt Mücadele newspaper owner Cumhur Kılıççıoğlu, Cumhuriyet newspaper journalist Alper Turgut, Cevat Düşün from Alternatif newspaper, Vakit newspaper writer Abdurrahman Dilipak and Taraf newspaper journalist Orhan Miroğlu.

I cannot find the full report, but when I get it, I will be sure to sidebar it under "Key Documents."

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