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22 May 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 22 May 2019 Russian Federation

Mass Resignations at Kommersant : the Latest Blow to Editorial Independence in Russia

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner RSF
No state reply yet
Partner RSF
On 20 May 2019, 11 journalists of the politics section of the leading Moscow business daily Kommersant resigned in protest and solidarity against the dismissal of two journalists over an article about a Kremlin ally. Reporters Maxim Ivanovand Ivan Safronov were dismissed for reporting that Valentina Matviyenko, an influential politician allied to Russian President Vladimir Putin, could be replaced as speaker of the Federation Council.
Ivanov and Safronov were fired as a result of pressure by the newspaper’s owner, influential billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov, who was very critical of that article and of the fact that they did not name their sources for the story.
On 20 May, more than 200 Kommersant journalists posted a joint letter on Facebook confirming the owner’ interference and emphasizing the professionalism of their two dismissed colleagues and the importance of the confidentiality of journalists’ sources. The joint letter added: “Our readers, partners and advertisers will be deprived of high-quality and unbiased coverage of a number of domestic political issues (...) for a long time now.”
The Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union issued a call for a strike, saying it was “deeply concerned by the situation” and condemning what it called a “brutal interference by shareholders in editorial policy.” The Russian Union of Journalists, too, pointed out that “shareholder meddling in editorial policy violates the constitutional right to free speech.”
Kommersant was once regarded as the flagship of the Russian press but its prestige has declined steadily since 2008, when Usmanov bought the company that publishes it. After two editors were fired in late 2011 for publishing comments that supposedly insulted then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, 35 Kommersant journalists signed an open letter accusing Usmanov of trying to “intimidate” them.
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20 May 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 20 May 2019 Turkey

Journalist İdris Özyol Severely Beaten Up

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 15 May 2019, Turkish journalist İdris Özyol was assaulted by unidentified men outside his newspaper’s building, Akdeniz'de Yeni Yüzyıl, in Antalya, southwest Turkey. He was hospitalised due to injuries to his head, hands and chest. According to reports, Özyol previously received threats from a local politician, in retaliation to his journalistic work. In a letter addressed to the Turkish President, 20 international media freedom organisations urged him to openly condemn the attacks on journalists and to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
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17 May 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 27 Nov 2015 Turkey

Imprisonment of Two Senior Editors of the Turkish Daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner RSF AEJ EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner RSF AEJ EFJ/IFJ Index
On 26 November 2015, at the request of Istanbul prosecutor’s office, Can Dündar, editor of the daily Cumhuriyet and its Ankara representative Erdem Gül were taken before a judge and placed in pre-trial detention on charges of membership of a terrorist organization, espionage and divulging state secrets.

Dündar and Gül were investigated in connection with an article published in May 2015 about allegations that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) had been delivering arms to rebels in Syria. The newspaper produced a video and photos to support the claim.

In June 2015, after Cumhuriyet published the video, President Erdoğan had personally filed a complaint accusing Dündar of spying, and publicly vowed that he would ‘not get away with it.’ Since then, Cumhuriyet and Dündar were being investigated on the basis of a criminal complaint referring to several articles of the Turkish penal code. The imprisonment of the two journalists is additional evidence that the Turkish authorities are suppressing independent journalism in Turkey.

In April 2015, Can Dündar was already the subject of an alert on the Council of Europe platform, regarding his prosecution on charges of insulting Turkey’s President Erdoğan and violating the confidentiality of an investigation. Dündar had published a series of articles about a corruption investigation by prosecutors in which close associates of Mr Erdoğan were implicated.

The high number of lawsuits initiated on behalf of President Erdoğan against journalists critical of the government are consistent with a concerted attempt to intimidate his opponents to remain silent about issues which are manifestly of public interest.
Updates
New 17 May 2019
On 15 May 2019, the Istanbul 14th High criminal court dismissed the case of Erdem Gül as it was opened after the 4 months period prescribed in the Press Law regarding statute of limitations. Can Dündar was excluded from the retrial while authorities await his arrest.
New 17 May 2019
On 15 May 2019, the Istanbul 14th High criminal court dismissed the case of Erdem Gül as it was opened after the 4 months period prescribed in the Press Law regarding statute of limitations.
17 Jul 2018
On 16 July 2018, the 14th Heavy Penal Court in Istanbul ruled to acquit Erdem Gul of charges of “publishing state secrets”. Her remains on trial in another case over the MIT trucks stories, in which he is charges of ‘helping a terrorist organisation’.
28 Jul 2017
On 28 July 2017, an Istanbul court issued an interim judgment in the trial of 17 Cumhuriyet journalists and executives. This judgment states that the arrest warrant formerly issued against Can Dündar, who is tried in absentia, remains further in effect.
01 Jun 2016
The Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court’s ruling from May 2016 was appealed by the two journalists. The case is pending before the Supreme Court of Appeals. Can Dündar fled the country to seek asylum in Germany. Erdem Gül is waiting for the appeal verdict.
10 May 2016
On 6 May 2016, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court convicted Can Dündar and Erdem Gül --the former for ‘obtaining and revealing state secrets’, the latter for ‘revealing state secrets’. They were respectively sentenced to five years and 10 months and five years in prison. Shortly before the Court's decision earlier that day, Dundar survived an attempted shooting where the gunman instead wounded another journalist reporting on the Court case. Both journalists were acquitted of charges of trying to overthrow the government and espionage. But the Court ordered that the charges of “knowingly and willfully” helping a terrorist organization must be separated from the trial in order to await a verdict in a separate case against the two men on charges of supporting terrorist organisations. The Court has also ordered the lifting of the ban on the two journalists’ rights to leave the country and ruled that their political rights, including the right to vote, should be restored.
29 Mar 2016
On 25 March 2016, an Istanbul court ruled for the whole trial of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül to be held in camera. The hearing was adjourned until 1st April 2016.
26 Feb 2016
Can Dündar and Erdem Gül were freed in the early hours of 26 February 2016 after Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled that their detentions had violated their rights.
25 Feb 2016
On 25 February 2016, by a 12-3 vote, the plenary of the Turkish Constitutional Court ruled that Can Dündar and Erdem Gül's right to freedom and security, right to express and disseminate thought, and the freedom of press as guaranteed by Articles 19, 26 and 28 of the Constitution had been violated.
28 Jan 2016
On 27 January 2016, during a court hearing in Istanbul, prosecution demanded “aggravated life imprisonment and imprisonment up to 30 years” for Can Dündar and Erdem Gül.
01 Dec 2015
RSF launches international appeal for release of ​Cumhuriyet journalists
State replies
15 Dec 2015
Statement of the Permanent Representative of Turkey to the Council of Europe to the 1242nd meeting of the Ministrers' Deputies
07 Dec 2015
Response of the Turkish Government (information provided by the Ministry of Justice)
Follow-ups
25 Jul 2017
OSCE media freedom representative calls on Turkey to release imprisoned journalists
13 May 2016
The Council of Europe Secretary General refers to the case of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül in his address to the Committee of Ministers on 11 May 2016.
10 Mar 2016
The Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe expresses its serious concern at recent developments in Turkey with respect to restrictions on media freedom and access to pluralistic information, challenges to the decisions of the Constitutional Court.
03 Mar 2016
Secretary General welcomes the release of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül in his address to the Committee of Ministers
26 Feb 2016
Secretary General Jagland welcomes the release of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül.
14 Jan 2016
CoE Secretary General mentions the continuing detention of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül in his allocution to the Committee of Ministers about the outcome of the meeeting of the informal working group on freedom of expression in Turkey
03 Dec 2015
CoE Secretary General focuses on the arrest of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül in his address to the Committee of Ministers
30 Nov 2015
Hürriyet Daily News article quoting the statement by the spokesperson of European Council Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland
27 Nov 2015
OSCE Representative condemns arrest of journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, urges Turkey not to proceed with charges
27 Nov 2015
Ingebjørg Godskesen and Nataša Vuckovic, co-rapporteurs for PACE’s post-monitoring dialogue with Turkey question arrests of leading journalists
27 Nov 2015
Statement by Nils Muiznieks, CoE Commissioner for Human Rights
Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer
Disclaimer
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17 May 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 15 May 2019 Turkey

Journalist Yavuz Selim Demirağ Severly Beaten Up

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ RSF
On 10 May 2019, in Ankara, Turkish journalist Yavuz Selim Demirağ was violently attacked by a group of unidentified men armed with baseball bats. The assault took place after the journalist, a critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, appeared on a TV show in the evening. He was immediately sent to the hospital with a broken nose and brain trauma, according to his newspaper Yeniçağ. Six persons allegedly involved in the attack were arrested and then freed a day later on the grounds that the journalist's injuries were not life-threatening.
Follow-ups
17 May 2019
New OSCE Media Freedom Representative deplores physical attacks on journalists in Turkey, urges authorities to swiftly bring all responsible to justice
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16 May 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 10 Apr 2018 Turkey

Journalists Detained on Account of Social Media Posts Critical of the Military Operation in Afrin

1 Journalist in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
At least four journalists have been detained in police raids since 20 January 2018 as part of a social media crackdown on individuals who shared critical comments or news regarding the ‘Operation Olive Branch’, which was launched by the Turkish army on the Syrian town of Afrin.
Van-based journalist Idris Yılmaz, was taken into custody on 21 January following a police raid on his house in Van province. He was ordered arrested on 23 January 2018 on charges of “making terrorist propaganda”. His house has been raided by the police on 20 March 2018 and according to his wife, his family members intimidated.
On 22 January, Ishak Karakaş, editor-in-chief of Halkın Nabzı newspaper and columnist for Artı Gerçek, was taken into custody during a police raid at his home in Istanbul. An Istanbul court formally arrested Karakaş on 26 January. His social media posts criticising the Turkish military’s operation in Afrin have been used as criminal evidence.
Mezopotamya news agency reporter Seda Taşkın was detained on 22 January during a police raid on her home in Ankara. Taşkın was arrested on 23 January on “membership in a terrorist organization” charges.
On 23 January, Haydar Ergül, an editor for the Demokratik Modernite magazine, who had been in custody since he was detained at the Diyarbakır Airport on 16 January, was arrested by an Istanbul court on charges of “making terrorist propaganda” and “membership in a terrorist organisation”.
Updates
New 16 May 2019
On 15 May 2019, Seda Taşkın was acquitted of charges of “aiding terrorist groups” by the appeals court, but sentenced to one year, 11 months and 10 days for “terrorism propaganda”. Her sentence was deferred.
New 05 Apr 2019
On 5 April 2019, the 22nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul issued an interim ruling deciding to release Haydar Ergül, pending trial. The court imposed on him judicial control measures in the form of an international travel ban and reporting to the nearest police station once a month. The court set 28 June 2019 as the date for the next hearing.
New 05 Apr 2019
On 26 March 2019, the 28th High Criminal Court of Istanbul convicted İshak Karakaş of “systematically disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organisation” and sentenced him to a prison term of 1 year, 6 months and 22 days. The court deferred the sentence.
21 Jan 2019
On 17 January 2019, the Court of appeal issued an interim decision ruling for the release of Seda Taşkın pending appeal. On 10 October 2018, the 2nd High Criminal Court of Muş had sentenced Taşkın to a total of 7.5 years in prison - 4 years and 2 months in prison for “aiding a terrorist organisation without being its member” and another 3 years and 4 months for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organisation.” The decision was brought to the appellate court.
07 Jan 2019
İdris Yılmaz’s initial detention period was meant to end on 16 May 2018. He however remained in prison due to a new investigation started in February 2018, on charge of "membership in a terrorist organisation". On 3 January 2019, the Van 5. High criminal court sentenced İdris Yılmaz to a 6-year and 3-month prison sentence on this charge. On 31 December 2018 his lawyer has brought an application to the Constitutional Court.
12 Oct 2018
On 10 October 2018, Muş’ 2nd High Criminal Court sentenced Seda Taşkın to a total of seven years and six months in prison. The court sentenced the journalist to three years and four months for "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization" and four years and two months for "aiding and abetting a [terrorist] organization without being a member." The journalist is currently being held at the Sincan Women's Prison.
25 Sep 2018
On 18 September 2018, İstanbul 28. High Criminal Court ruled to lift the judicial control order that forced the defendant to give signature every week, however it rejected the request to lift the international travel ban.
09 May 2018
Editor-in-Chief of the local Istanbul daily Halkın Nabzı and Artı Gerçek columnist, İshak Karakaş, was released under judicial control measures in his first court appearance on 8 May 2018.
Follow-ups
21 Jan 2019
Relieved that Seda Taşkın was released, the OSCE Representative hopes for her acquittal on appeal.
12 Oct 2018
OSCE Representative appalled by Muş 2nd Heavy Penal Court 7.5 yrs prison sentence to reporter at Seda Taşkın for "aiding and abetting terrorist organisation as non-member".
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (1):

Idris Yılmaz
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15 May 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 15 May 2019 Greece

Greek CNN Reporter Mina Karamitrou's Car Destroyed by Bomb

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ EFJ/IFJ
On 14 May 2019 at about 2:30 a.m., flammable liquid placed under Mina Karamitrou's car exploded, while the car was parked outside the journalist's home in the northern Athens suburb of Papagou, according to local news reports. The car was destroyed but no one was injured, according to the reports. Karamitrou is a police reporter for CNN's Greek edition, according to her author page on the network's website. She also works for private broadcaster OPEN TV. Police have opened an investigation into the bombing, according to Greek news website Skai. CNN Greece condemned the attack in a statement, calling it "an attack on the entire journalistic world." Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos condemned the attack on Twitter, describing it as a "targeting" of freedom of the press, and saying that the perpetrators should be held to account. The Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers condemned the attack stating “violence, threats and blackmail will not force colleagues to shut their mouths”.
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14 May 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 24 Feb 2017 Turkey

"Die Welt" Correspondent in Turkey Deniz Yücel Detained

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ CPJ Index IPI RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ CPJ Index IPI RSF
Germany daily Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel was taken into custody in Istanbul on 14 February 2017. Mr Yücel, who holds both German and Turkish citizenship, is accused by Turkish authorities of being a member of a terrorist organisation, spreading propaganda and misusing information, charges refuted by the defendant as well as media organisations. The journalist had reported – like six other journalists working for national news outlets detained at the end of December 2016 – on emails that the hacker collective RedHack had acquired from the private email account of Turkey's Energy Minister Berat Albayrak who is President Erdoğan's son-in-law. The emails allegedly revealed media outlets' control and the use of fake Twitter accounts to influence the public in favour of the ruling AK party.
Updates
New 14 May 2019
On 10 May 2019, Deniz Yücel presented his defense statement at Amtsgericht Berlin-Tiergarten Court. The journalist alleged he suffered psychological and physical violence while in prison. This statement will be relayed to the 32nd High Criminal Court in İstanbul.
New 10 May 2019
On 8 May 2019, a Turkish Appellate court has overturned the Istanbul 17th Heavy Penal Court decision rejecting the compensation claim filed by Deniz Yücel on the grounds that his year-long imprisonment in Turkey has been unlawful. His case for compensation will be heard again.
New 15 Apr 2019
On 11 April 2019, the court adjourned the next hearing to 16 July, allowing Deniz Yücel's defense statement to be heard in a Berlin rogatory court on 10 May 2019.
26 Sep 2018
On 25 September 2018, the Istanbul 17th Heavy Penal Court rejected Deniz Yücel’s request for compensation for his year-long imprisonment in Turkey.
16 Feb 2018
On 16 February 2018, a criminal court in Istanbul ordered the release of Deniz Yücel pending trial. On the same day, prosecutors presented an indictment seeking up to 18 years in jail for the journalist on charges of "spreading terrorist propaganda" and "stirring enmity".
30 Mar 2017
On 30 March 2017, following the rejection of the appeal, Yücel’s lawyers filed a complaint at the Constitutional Court.
28 Feb 2017
On 27 February 2017, Deniz Yücel was arrested after an Istanbul court ordered him to be jailed pending trial. His lawyers have appealed against his detention.
Follow-ups
16 Feb 2018
OSCE Media freedom representative welcomes the release of Deniz Yücel, adding that all charges against him should be dropped.
19 Oct 2017
On 10 October 2017, the Commissioner for human rights intervened before the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning the detention of journalists and freedom of expression in Turkey
02 Mar 2017
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media calls on Turkey to decriminalize journalistic work following arrest of Die Welt journalist
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14 May 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 05 Oct 2015 Turkey

Cumhuriyet Journalist Canan Coşkun Faces 23 Years in Prison for Alleged Insult

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Cumhuriyet journalist Canan Coşkun faces more than 23 years in prison on charges of “insulting public officials over their duties” for her report alleging that top judicial officials were able to buy discounted residences from a public real estate company.
Daily Cumhuriyet reporter Canan Coşkun reported claims that a lottery to select homebuyers for a housing project in Istanbul’s Başakşehir neighborhood was rigged to favour members of a group of judges and prosecutors with ties to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Updates
New 14 May 2019
Canan Coşkun was arrested on 10 May 2019 over the unpaid fine of TL 12,600 that she was given for “insulting public official”. On 11 May 2019, Canan Coşkun was brought to Istanbul Courthouse after spending one night in police custody. She was released after the fine was paid.
27 Jan 2017
On 26 January 2017, Istanbul 2nd penal Court of first instance fined journalist Canan Coşkun to 12,600 TL for her report on judges and prosecutors becoming homeowners at a discount rate.
State replies
Follow-ups
17 Mar 2016
The Venice Commission recommends that Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (Degrading Turkish Nation, State of Turkish Republic, the Organs and Institutions of the State) be redrafted and further amended with the aim of making all the notions used in it clear and specific. Application of this provision should also be limited to statements inciting to violence and hatred.
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09 May 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 09 May 2019 Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani Journalist Sevinc Osmanqizi Faces Harassment, Threats to Leak Intimate Photos

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner CPJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ RSF
On 7 April 2019, pro-government broadcaster Real TV in Azerbaijan aired a segment, which CPJ has reviewed, which included audio from a private conversation between online TV journalist Sevinc Osmanqizi, who lives in the United States, and another journalist who lives in Europe. During the broadcast, a Real TV anchor accused Osmanqizi of engaging in activities against the state of Azerbaijan. Osmanqizi hosts an online TV program, "Osmanqizi TV," which discusses political issues in Azerbaijan and has featured figures from Azerbaijan's political opposition. She told CPJ that the leaked conversation took place in early April via Facebook's audio calling feature, and she did not know how Real TV obtained a recording of the conversation.

On 21 April 2019, Real TV aired another segment, which CPJ reviewed, during which an anchor threatened to release intimate photos of the journalist in seven days unless she ceased her online TV program and issued an apology. As of May 7, Osmanqizi has continued to broadcast her program, according to a CPJ review of her YouTube page.
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09 May 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 09 May 2019 Russian Federation

Russian Police Beat at least 1 Journalist, Arrest 2 during May Day Protests in St. Petersburg

Source of threatState
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ RSF
A group of at least five police officers assaulted and then arrested Timur Hadjibekov, a freelance photojournalist who works under the name George Markov, and arrested Oleg Nasonov, a photojournalist with St. Petersburg-based online news outlet Dva Stula, while they were covering a May Day march in St. Petersburg on 1 May 2019, according to Nasonov and Hadjibekov, who spoke with CPJ, and local media reports.

Police officers approached Hadjibekov and Nasonov, who were near the demonstrations which included several political parties and activists shouting anti-Putin slogans; Hadjibekov identified himself as a journalist, and police then punched him in his ribs and head and arrested him, he told CPJ. Nasonov told CPJ that police grabbed him and threw him to the ground before arresting him. Hadjibekov said that the officers took him to a police station without giving any reason for his arrest, and held him there for about two hours. He was then taken to a hospital to receive treatment for his injuries, he told CPJ.

Officers told Nasonov he was under arrest for disobeying a police officer, and held him at a police station for about four hours, he told CPJ. When he was released, officers said that he was charged with violating public order, and will be required to appear in court, he said. According to the Russian administrative code, he could be fined between 10,000 and 20,000 rubles ($152 to $305) if found guilty.

Hadjibekov said he intends to file an official complaint against the St. Petersburg police. Nasonov told CPJ that he plans to submit his case to the European Court of Human Rights.
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09 May 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 09 May 2019 Ukraine

Ukrainian Journalist in Coma Following Assault

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ Index RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ Index RSF
On 4 May 2019, a passersby found investigative reporter Vadym Komarov in downtown Cherkasy, a city in eastern Ukraine, with severe head injuries and called an ambulance and the police, according to news reports. He was taken to a local hospital, and has been in a coma after undergoing brain surgery on the same day; his condition has been described as "grave," according to those reports. On the day of the attack, the Cherkasy police department issued a statement announcing that it had opened an investigation. On 5 May, the case was classified as attempted murder, according to news reports. Police did not specify whether they believed Komarov was targeted for his reporting. On 3 May, Komarov wrote on his Facebook page that he planned to publish information related to sports schools "in the coming days." The journalist's most recent work includes a report on protests in prisons for the independent Ukrainian news website Dzvin.
Additional Information
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07 May 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 21 Nov 2017 Ukraine

Georgian TV Journalist Assaulted by Security Services and Deported

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner Index EFJ/IFJ
Partner Index EFJ/IFJ
Georgian television channel Rustavi-2 journalist Tamaz Shashvishvili was detained by force in Kyiv on 16 November and deported to Georgia on 17 November 2017. The journalist was detained in an apartment he was renting in Kyiv. Reportedly,15 armed men belonging to the Ukrainian security services stormed his apartment, hit him on the face with a pistol and blindfolded him. On 17 November, Shashvishvili was deported to Georgia via a two-day-long ferry journey from Odessa sea port along with a group of Georgian citizens accused of activities contrary to the interests of Ukrainian national security. SBU rejected the journalist’s claims of violence, stating that it had not beaten the journalist and had not subjected him to inhumane treatment during his deportation. "SBU decided to deport these foreigners on the basis of evidence presented by the State Migration Service and the National Police of Ukraine, which showed that these foreigners acted against the interests of the national security of Ukraine," SBU spokesperson Olena Hitlianska said. Shashvishvili reported on the activities of opposition politician Mikhail Saakashvili in Ukraine.
State replies
07 May 2019
New Reply from the Government of Ukraine
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07 May 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 09 Jan 2019 Turkey

Journalist Pelin Ünker Sentenced to Jail for Writing on "Paradise Papers"

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index IPI
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index IPI
On 8 January, 2019, a court in Istanbul sentenced journalist Pelin Ünker to 13 months and 15 days in prison, along with an additional fine. The sentence, along with a fine of 8,600 Turkish lira (€1,370) was imposed for "insulting and slandering a public official." Ünker's report appeared in Turkey's secular, left-leaning Cumhuriyet newspaper, for which she no longer works. Former Turkish Prime minister Binali Yıldırım and his two sons sued Ünker in November 2017 over a report about his sons' alleged ties to five offshore companies in Malta. Pelin Ünker, a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) was found guilty of “defamation and insult” for writing about companies in Malta owned by Binali Yıldırım and his sons. The journalist was not immediately jailed and is still able to appeal which is what she will do pointing out that the Yıldırım family had admitted that articles about their Maltese businesses were accurate. Binali Yıldırım is currently the speaker of the Turkish Parliament and is set to run as candidate for mayor of Istanbul for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Updates
New 07 May 2019
On 6 May 2019, the Istanbul Criminal Chamber of the Regional Court of Justice (Appeals Court) dropped the prison sentence against Turkish journalist Pelin Ünker on the grounds that the complaint was barred by Turkey’s statute of limitations. It upheld the fine.
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06 May 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 27 Jul 2016 Turkey

Journalists Arrested in Major Clampdown following Failed Coup in Turkey

78 Journalists in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ CPJ Index IPI
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ CPJ Index IPI
On 25 July 2016, the Turkish anti-terrorism Prosecutor Irfan Fidan has today issued arrest warrants for 42 journalists in the wake of the failed coup against President Erdoğan. According to Anatolian News Agency, the journalists targeted are: Abdullah Abdulkadiroğlu, Abdullah Kılıç, Ahmet Dönmez, Ali Akkuş, Arda Akın, Nazlı Ilıcak, Bayram Kaya, Bilal Şahin, Bülent Ceyhan, Bülent Mumay, Bünyamin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cevheri Güven, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Emre Soncan, Ercan Gün, Erkan Akkuş, Ertuğrul Erbaş, Fatih Akalan, Fatih Yağmur, Habip Güler, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Haşim Söylemez, Hüseyin Aydın, İbrahim Balta, İnan Kızılkaya, Kamil Maman, Kerim Gün, Levent Kenez, Mahmut Hazar, Mehmet Gündem, Metin Yıkar, Muhammed Fatih Uğur, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Mürsel Genç, Selahattin Sevi, Seyid Kılıç, Turan Görüryılmaz, Ufuk Şanlı, Ufuk Emin Köroğlu, Yakup Sağlam and Yakup Çetin.

Among those targeted by the warrants was prominent journalist and former parliamentarian Nazli Ilicak who was fired from the pro-government Sabah daily in 2013 for criticising ministers caught up in a corruption scandal, NTV and CNN-Turk reported. On 27 July 2016, journalist Nuriye Akman was taken into custody.

On 27 July 2016, Istanbul prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 47 former executives and columnists of Zaman newspaper. Those named in the warrants include the following former columnists and executives : Osman Nuri Öztürk, Ali Akbulut, Bülent Keneş, Mehmet Kamış, Hüseyin Döğme, Süleyman Sargın, Veysel Ayhan, Şeref Yılmaz, Mehmet Akif Afşar, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Alaattin Güner, Faruk Kardıç, Metin Tamer Gökçeoğlu, Faruk Akkan, Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Sevgi Akarçeşme, Ali Ünal, Mustafa Ünal, Zeki Önal, Hilmi Yavuz, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu, Ali Bulaç, Bülent Korucu, İhsan Duran Dağı, Nuriye Ural, Hamit Çiçek, Adil Gülçek, Hamit Bilici, Şenol Kahraman, Melih Kılıç, Nevzat Güner, Mehmet Özdemir, Fevzi Yazıcı, Sedat Yetişkin, Oktay Vızvız, Abdullah Katırcıoğlu, Behçet Akyar, Murat Avcıoğlu, Yüksel Durgut, Zafer Özsoy, Cuma Kaya, Hakan Taşdelen, Osman Nuri Arslan, and Ömer Karakaş.

On the same day, Zaman daily columnist, Şahin Alpay, has been detained after police raided his house in the early morning hours. Lale Sarıibrahimoğlu, who used to work for Zaman and Today’s Zaman and currently reports for IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, was taken by police from her home early on that day too. She has reported in detail about issues concerning the Turkey armed forces, their financial assets, and shortcomings in terms of transparency and accountability. She has suffered for several years from poor health and has need of assured access to medical attention.
Updates
New 06 May 2019
On 3 May 2019, the Constitutional Court of Turkey rejected the individual applications of Nazlı Ilıcak and Ahmet Altan, ruling that there was no violation of their rights during their pre-trial detention and prosecution. On 3 May 2019, the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of Ali Bulaç, saying his right to freedom of expression and personal security had been violated. (The court has been reviewing rights violations for those arrested after the coup attempt, but its rulings do not automatically affect criminal sentences.)
19 Feb 2019
On 19 February 2019, the 3rd Penal Chamber (the court of appeal) of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice upheld the verdict on the Cumhuriyet newspaper' case. This is the final judgment for the defendants who were sentenced to prison for less than five years: journalist Kadri Gursel and lawyer Bulent Utku will not go back to prison due to time already served ; journalists Hakan Kara and Guray Oz, cartoonist Musa Kart, lawyer Mustafa Kemal Gungor, board member Onder Celik, and accountant Emre Iper will return to prison to complete their sentences. Editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, journalists Ahmet Sik, Hikmet Cetinkaya, Orhan Erinc, Akin Atalay and Aydin Engin, all sentenced to more than five years, will appeal against their sentences.
07 Dec 2018
Journalist Murat Aksoy, who was given a 25-month prison sentence earlier this year reported to the Istanbul Courthouse on 22 November 2018 to serve that prison sentence, which was upheld in October 2018 by an appellate court. Aksoy was arrested and sent to the Metris Prison.
15 Nov 2018
On 14 November 2018, Uşak 2nd High Criminal Court sentenced Ali Ünal to 19 years and six months in jail on charge of leading a terrorist group. The Court acquitted him of "attempt to overthrow the constitutional order".
02 Nov 2018
Columnist and author Mehmet Gündem, who had worked for several newspapers and outlets such as the now-closed Zaman, Gündem, Tercüman, Yeni Şafak, TRT Haber, and Milliyet, was arrested on 9 November 2017 as part of an operation against the Journalists’ and Writers’ Foundation (GYV), which was shut down by decree law. Gündem is charged with “membership of a terrorist organisation”, together with two other journalists, Behram Kılıç and Nuh Gönültaş. The latter is also detained in relation to the same operation against GYV. Kılıç was released on 1 November 2018, pending trial. Gündem appeared in court for the first time on 14 August 2018, after 10 months in pretrial detention. He is accused of using “ByLock”, an encrypted-communications application for mobiles said to have been used by followers of exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen. Gündem’s next scheduled hearing is 8 May 2019, where the court has requested an expert report on digital tools to be submitted. Gündem was previously detained in July 2016 as part of arrest warrants for 42 journalists issued after the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016.
26 Oct 2018
On 24 October 2018, the 2nd Criminal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice ruled on appeals of a ruling handed down by the İstanbul 25th High Criminal Court on 8 March 2018 lodged by 25 journalists, including 19 jailed journalists. The Chamber upheld the conviction of defendants Cihan Acar, Bünyamin Köseli, İbrahim Balta, Bayram Kaya, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Habip Güler, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Mutlu Çölgeçen, Ünal Tanık, Yakup Çetin, Seyit Kılıç, Hüseyin Aydın, Abdullah Kılıç, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Muhammet Sait Kuloğlu, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Oğuz Usluer, Davut Aydın, Ufuk Şanlı, Yetkin Yıldız and Cuma Ulus. The court in addition ruled for a continuation of the imprisonment of the 19 journalists. In its decision, the chamber also rejected the appeals of prosecutors against lower court decisions for columnist and singer Atilla Taş and for journalist Murat Aksoy.
03 Oct 2018
On 2 October 2018, the appeal court upheld aggravated life sentences for Nazlı Ilıcak, Fevzi Yazıcı and Yakup Şimşek.
06 Jul 2018
On 6 July 2018, an Istanbul court has sentenced six former Zaman journalists to prison sentences on charges of being members of a terror organisation, while acquitting five others of all charges. The Court ordered to release Ahmet Turan Alkan and İbrahim Karayeğen under judicial control, pending appeal.
25 May 2018
On 24 May 2018, a court in İstanbul has sentenced Yeni Asya daily editor Naciye Nur Ener Kılınç to 7,5 years in prison on charge of membership of a terrorist organisation and ruled for the continuation of her house arrest pending appeal trial.
14 May 2018
On 11 May 2018, the 13th High Criminal Court of Istanbul in its interim decision ruled to release columnist Ali Bulaç and Zaman’s former Responsible Managing Editor Mehmet Özdemir from pretrial detention, while ordering the lifting of Şahin Alpay’s house arrest. The court also imposed overseas travel bans on both Bulaç and Özdemir and ordered judicial control measures for those three defendants. The next hearings are scheduled for 7 and 8 June.
10 May 2018
On 30 April 2018, an Istanbul court convicted 10 people affiliated with the shuttered Feza Media Group, publisher of the daily Zaman, on terrorism-related charges. All of the defendants were acquitted on charges of "attempting to eliminate the constitutional order”. Murat Avcıoğlu, Cuma Kaya, Alaattin Güner, Hüseyin Turan and Zafer Ozsoy were released on probation pending appeal.
30 Apr 2018
On 24 April 2018, a court in the southern city of Antalya sentenced to prison Tuncer Çetinkaya, a former reporter of Zaman newspaper and Cihan News Agency, for 7 years and 6 months on charges of "being a member of a [terrorist] organisation". The court ordered Çetinkaya released on probation to receive treatment for kidney failure.
19 Mar 2018
Journalist Şahin Alpay was released from Silivri Prison at night on Friday 16 March 2018. He remains under on house arrest.
19 Mar 2018
On 15 March 2018, the Turkish Constitutional Court re-evaluated Şahin Alpay’s application. This 2nd application was filed after the Constitutional Court’s first ruling was snubbed by local courts in January 2018. The Court reiterated its former ruling that the journalist’s rights had been violated and that he should be freed. Turkish top court ruling comes as European Court of Human Rights is set to announce its verdict on the case on 20th March.
09 Mar 2018
On 8 March 2018, the İstanbul 25th Heavy Penal Court sentenced defendants Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Muhammet Sait Kuloğlu, Multlu Çölgeçen, Seyid Kılıç, Ünal Tanık, Erkan Acar, Oğuz Usluer, Davut Aydın, Ufuk Şanlı, Yetkin Yıldız, Cuma Ulus to 7 years and 6 months in prison on charge of “being a member of an illegal organisation”. The court ruled for the re-arrest of journalist Akkuş, who had been released last April. Cihan Acar, Bünyamin Köseli, İbrahim Balta, Bayram Kaya, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Habip Güler, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Yakup Çetin, Hüseyin Aydın, Abdullah Kılıç and Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu were sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison on the same charge. 13 defendants were acquitted of “coup attempt” charges. The court sentenced Atilla Taş and Murat Aksoy for “knowingly and willingly aiding an illegal organization as a non-member” while not being “a part of the hierarchical structure within the organization”. They were respectively condemned to 3 years 1 month and 15 days in prison and 2 years and 1 month. Considering the time in prison they already served, the court rejected the prosecutor’s request for the re-arrest of Taş and Aksoy and removed the obligation to sign in at a police station regularly. Yet it ruled for the continuation of their travel ban.
21 Feb 2018
On 20 February 2018, Nur Ener Kılınç was released pending trial and placed under house arrest. Her next hearing is set for 19 Aprill.
16 Feb 2018
On 16 Febuary 2018, Nazlı Ilıcak, Yakup Şimşek and Fevzi Yazıcı were handed aggravated life sentences.
16 Jan 2018
On 12 January 2018, after reviewing the reasoned judgement of the Constitutional Court, the Istanbul 13th Criminal Court overruled the Constitutional Court’s verdict by saying it overstepped its jurisdiction and usurped the Criminal Court’s authority. On 15 January 2017, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court rejected Şahin Alpay’s appeal for release.
12 Jan 2018
On 11 January 2018 Turkey`s Constitutional Court ruled to release Şahin Alpay. His release was halted by Istanbul`s 13th High Criminal Court, which announced that his detention would be reviewed after the Constitutional Court’s reasoned decisions were formally communicated.
22 Nov 2017
On 21 November 2017, the 14th High Criminal Court of Ankara sentenced Ayşenur Parıldak, a correspondent for Zaman newspaper, to seven years and six months in prison for being a member of an armed terrorist organisation.
22 Nov 2017
On 8 November 2017, an Istanbul court ordered the release of Izmir-based journalist Bekir Gökmen Ulu from the Sözcü daily. The journalist is also under an international travel ban.
25 Oct 2017
Murat Aksoy was released from pretrial detention by an İstanbul court on 24 October 2017. According to the decision of the İstanbul 25th High Criminal Court, Aksoy was released after the court determined that the suspect had no bank account with Bank Asya and never used the ByLock mobile phone application, both considered by Turkish authorities to be evidence of links to the Gülen movement.
23 Oct 2017
On 17 October 2017, the Eskişehir 2nd court of severe crimes sentenced Mehmet Kuru to six years and three months' imprisonment for 'membership in a terrorist organization'.
15 Oct 2017
Murat Dağdeviren, owner of the Demokrat Gebze newspaper, was arrested on 31 July 2016. On 10 October 2017, he was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison on charge of membership to a terror organization. Demokrat Gebze newspaper was shut down by decree.
05 Oct 2017
Yüksel Durgut was released pending trial for health reasons on 29 September 2017.
29 Sep 2017
Abdullah Özyurt was released on 15 September 2017.
29 Sep 2017
On 22 September 2017, Mediha Olgun was released.
18 Sep 2017
Burak Ekici, the online editor for daily newspaper Birgün, was ordered arrested on 16 August 2017 on accusations of links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. Ekici was detained for allegedly having used mobile phone encryption application Bylock, which prosecutors consider to be evidence of membership in the Gülen movement.
07 Sep 2017
Mehmet Dener and Muhammet Taşçılar were released on 1 September 2017.
23 Aug 2017
On 18 August 2017, the 25th court for severe crime of Istanbul released pending trial Cihan Acar, journalist for Bugün, and Aksiyon magazine journalist, Bünyamin Köseli, prosecuted for «coup attempt».
21 Aug 2017
On 18 August 2017, Ali Ahmet Böken, a former TRT News coordinator and former columnist for the now-closed Samanyolu TV, was arrested. Accused of “membership in a terrorist organisation”, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
17 Aug 2017
On 10 August 2017, the police in Istanbul detained Cüneyt Seza Özkan, former news editor at the shuttered Samanyolu TV, according to news reports. Mr Özkan was one of 35 journalists and media workers whose arrest a Turkish court mandated the week before as part of a sweeping purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to reports. Özkan’s arrest is part of an investigation into journalists and others who allegedly used the Bylock app, according to press reports. Authorities allege that use of the encrypted messaging app is proof of FETÖ/PDY membership.
25 Jul 2017
Hülya Karakaya was released on 18 July 2017 and placed under judiciary control.
20 Jul 2017
Nizamettin İzgi, owner of the Batman newspaper, was arrested on 11 December 2016. On 17 July 2017, a court ordered his release under judicial control.
01 Jun 2017
On 27 May 2017, a Turkish court formally arrested Mediha Olgun (internet editor) and Gökmen Ulu (press correspondent in Izmir), two opposition journalists working for Sözcü daily newspaper for "a story and photographs in the paper revealing where Erdogan was spending his vacation a day before the coup, and a crossword puzzle with the president’s name hidden in it", according to state-run Anadolu news agency. The two jailed Sözcü journalists face charges including “knowingly aiding and abetting the FETÖ terrorist organisation without being part of its hierarchical structure”, and “aiding the assassination attempt of the president”.
30 May 2017
Idris Okur, Cihan reporter in Çorum, was put in custody on 1 August 2016. His trial started in May 2017 before the Çorum 2nd Heavy Penal Court.
29 May 2017
Özkan Mayda was released on 24 May 2017.
26 May 2017
Olgun Matur was released on 29 March 2017 and was arrested again 3 days later on 2nd April. He was released again on 24 May 2017.
05 May 2017
On 4 may 2017, Ozan Kaplanoğlu, editor of the online platform @BursaMuhalif and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bursa Branch of the Contemporary Gazeteciler Derneği, was detained during an early morning raid on his home. The journalist was arrested by a Bursa court on 5 May on the charge of spreading propaganda for a terrorist organisation on his social media account.
02 May 2017
İbrahim Karayeğen, an editor for Zaman newspaper, was ordered arrested on 26 September 2016 as part of the coup attempt investigation. Karayeğen, who was detained on 16 July 2016 in İstanbul Atatürk Airport was formally put on pre-trial detention on 24 July 2016 by an investigating judge at İstanbul No.2 Criminal Court of Peace. On 27 April 2017, an Istanbul court indicted Karayeğen and 29 other former Zaman Media Group employees with attempting to overthrow the government, the Constitution and Parliament. Each suspect risks three consecutive life sentences. The indictment also seeks another 15 years for each suspect on charges of being members of a terrorist organisation.
20 Apr 2017
Ali Akkuş was released on 31 March 2017 and detained a few hours later. He was released again on 15 April 2017.
18 Apr 2017
On 5 August 2016, Yakup Şimşek, the former Brand Marketing Manager of Zaman was taken into custody, as part of a probe into a controversial commercial allegedly hinting at an impending coup bid some nine months before the 15 July coup attempt. The indictment drafted on 14 April 2017 by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office seeks three consecutive life sentences for 16 people, including Şimşek, on coup charges. On 29 March 2016, court-appointed trustees had fired Simsek along with 5 colleagues from the daily newspapers Zaman and Today's Zaman, for "abusing the trust of the employer" and "acting against the good will and morals, as well as the company's image".
17 Apr 2017
Yakup Çetin and Yetkin Yıldız were released on 31 march 2017 and detained again a few hours later. They were re-arrested on 15 april 2017.
13 Apr 2017
On 11 April 2017 an indictment of journalists and columnists of Zaman daily was filed to the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court. The indictment seeks three consecutive life sentences for the 30 defendants on charges of attempting to overthrow the government. 30 journalists, 21 of whom are already under arrest, were indicted. The defendants include former Zaman writers Mümtazer Türköne, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Şahin Alpay, Mustafa Ünal and Ali Bulaç. The journalists are charged with "attempting a coup d'Etat" for which the prosecutor demands three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. Additionally, the prosecutor demands up to 15 years in prison for all the suspects on charges of "membership in a terrorist organisation." Anatolia News Agency reported that the defendants are Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Alaattin Güner, Cuma Kaya, Faruk Akkan, Hakan Taşdelen, Hüseyin Belli, Hüseyin Turan, İbrahim Karayeğen, İsmail Küçük, Mehmet Özdemir, Murat Avcıoğlu, Mustafa Ünal, Onur Kutlu, Sedat Yetişkin, Şeref Yılmaz, Yüksel Durgut and Zafer Özsoy, Ahmet İrem, Ali Hüseyin Çelebi, Süleyman Sargın, Osman Nuri Arslan, Osman Nuri Öztürk, Lalezer Sarıibrahimoğlu, Nuriye Ural and Orhan Kemal Cengiz. Sarıibrahimoğlu, Ural and Cengiz are listed as suspects pending trial outside of prison.
05 Apr 2017
Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional burea Chief for the Med region, was arrested on 21 July 2016. He stands accused of preparing the ground for July 2016 coup attempt on behalf of the Hizmet movement. On 1 April 2017, Serhat Şeftali was ordered released on judicial probation by the Antalya 2nd High Criminal Court along 20 police officers and seven other journalists including Tuncer Çetinkaya and Olgun Matur pending the conclusion of their trial. However, the Antalya 3rd High Criminal Court ruled for the re-arrest of 16 of them, including Şeftali following objections to their release by prosecutors.
05 Apr 2017
Tuncer Çetinkaya was released on 29 March 2017 and re-arrested on 2 April.
31 Mar 2017
Kenan Baş was released on 29 March 2017.
10 Mar 2017
Nur Ener, the news-editor of Yeni Asya newspaper, was detained on 3 March 2017 as a part of the purge of journalists allegedly linked to the Gülen movement. Ener was formally arrested on 6 March 2017 for allegedly having used the mobile phone encryption application Bylock, which Turkish prosecutors consider to be evidence of membership in the Gülen movement. Ener is currently in pre-trial detention in the Bakırköy Women’s Closed Prison in Istanbul.
06 Mar 2017
Erdem Mühirci was released on 28 February 2017.
28 Feb 2017
Vedat Demir was released on 18 February 2017.
03 Feb 2017
Hamza Günerigök, an anchor with of state-owned TRT, was arrested on 30 January 2017 by border security in military zone as he was trying to flee from Turkey to Greece in illegal ways. The authorities had issued an arrest warrant for Günerigök over his alleged link with the Gülen movement.
30 Jan 2017
On 18 January 2017, Ünal Tanık, owner and editor-in-chief of the Rota Haber news portal, which is among the media outlets closed down in the aftermath of the coup attempt, was arrested after being detained in Yalova the day before. The arrest verdict of İstanbul’s 11th Penal Court of Peace was based on the charge of alleged membership to the Gülen movement. Tanık faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
23 Dec 2016
Özcan Keser, reporter for state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Network (TRT), who had previously worked with Cihan News Agency, was detained on 12 August 2016. He was formally arrested on 19 December.
22 Dec 2016
Ömer Oruç, a former reporter of the Cihan News Agency, was arrested on 18 December 2016. Oruç is currently imprisoned in Isparta prison.
19 Dec 2016
Eda Şanlı was released pending trial on 18 December 2016.
16 Dec 2016
On 14 December 2016, Mehmet Anıl was released.
12 Dec 2016
Nadir Yücel, editor in chief of the Çorum Yıldız, was ordered arrested on 4 December 2016 as part of a purge of journalists allegedly linked with Fethullah Gülen.
31 Oct 2016
Beytullah Özdemir, the Düzce representative for the newspaper Zaman, was ordered arrested on 27 October 2016 as part of the ongoing investigation into the failed 15 July 2016 coup attempt.
26 Oct 2016
As of 26 October 2016, the list of detained journalists was updated, adding the following 24 journalists, arrested under State of emergency as part of the coup investigation: Abdullah Özyurt, Ahmet Yavaş, Ayşenur Parıldak, Aytekin Gezici, Aziz İstegün, Bayram Parlak, Cumali Önal, Gültekin Avcı, Eda Şanlı, Halil İbrahim Mert, İbrahim Karayeğen, Kenan Baş, Lokman Erdoğan, Mehmet Kuru, Murat Aksoy, Nurullah Kaya, Nuri Durna, Olgun Matur, Osman Yakut, Özkan Mayda, Tuncer Çetinkaya, Vahit Yazgan, Vedat Demir and Yalçın Güler. Most of them were former Zaman journalists and executives. Additionally, 11 journalists, arrested during the State of emergency outside the coup probe, were also added to the list of detained journalists: Erdem Mühirci, Hülya Karakaya , İlker İlkan, Mehmet Anıl, Mehmet Arslan , Necmiye Alpay, Nizamettin Yılmaz, Rabia Özkaya, Selahattin Koyuncu , Şirin Çoban and Zeynel Abidin Bulut.
18 Oct 2016
As of 18 October 2016, 35 of the 89 journalists targeted by one of the 2 mass warrants issued after the coup attempt have been arrested : Abdullah Kılıç, Ali Akkuş, Nazlı Ilıcak, Bayram Kaya, Bünyamin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Emre Soncan, Ercan Gün, Habip Güler, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Haşim Söylemez, Hüseyin Aydın, İbrahim Balta, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Seyid Kılıç, Ufuk Şanlı, and Yakup Çetin - Şeref Yılmaz, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Alaattin Güner, Faruk Akkan, Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Ali Ünal, Mustafa Ünal, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Ali Bulaç, Mehmet Özdemir, Fevzi Yazıcı, Murat Avcıoğlu, , Zafer Özsoy, Cuma Kaya, and Hakan Taşdelen. On Oct 12, former Taraf and Zaman columnists Lalezar Sariibrahimoglu and Nuriye (Akman) Ural were released from prison pending trial. An Istanbul Criminal Court decided that there were sufficient grounds for suspecting that both were members of the so-called Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure, or FETÖ/PDY, but also indicated that the case against them would be subject to further assessment to ascertain whether it could be shown to be strong enough to proceed. On that basis they were released from custody on appeal with certain legal controls. Both are banned from travelling abroad. To date, ten journalists have been released: Arda Akın, Bülent Mumay, Mehmet Gündem, and Yakup Sağlam -Zeki Önal, Hilmi Yavuz, Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu (Lale Kemal), İhsan Duran Dağı, Nuriye (Akman) Ural and Osman Nuri Arslan.
05 Oct 2016
Ramazan Alkan, a journalist for Yeni Akit newspaper, was ordered arrested on 30 September 2016 for allegedly having used the mobile phone encryption application Bylock, which Turkish prosecutors consider to be evidence of membership in the Gülen movement.
12 Sep 2016
Mutlu Çölgeçen, an editor with Millet newspaper, was ordered arrested on 9 September 2016. Çölgeçen is one of 29 journalists charged in a case accusing them of having been part of the Gülen movement’s “media wing”. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
05 Sep 2016
On 2 September 2016, Ahmet Memiş, a reporter for Haberdar news website, was arrested as part of a purge of journalists allegedly linked to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. Mr Memiş is accused of having been part of the Gülen movement’s “media wing” and is kept in detention at Silivri prison camp.
01 Sep 2016
In August 2016, Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has ordered detention for 34 employers of TRT (Turkey's Public Broadcasting Service) claimed to be users of ByLock, an encrypted communication software allegedly used among members of the Gülen Community. According to Bianet, there are eight TRT employees among journalists taken into custody under the State of Emergency declared on July 20 and put behind bars. The names of the eight former TRT employees are as follows: Ahmet Yavaş (TRT radio Erzurum correspondent), Ali Yüce (TRT radio broadcasting manager), Ersin Şanlı (TRT domestic news manager), Hakan Aksel (TRT News and Sports Department Coordinator Assistant and Producer), Halil İbrahim Mert (TRT TV Erzurum cameraperson), Nuri Durna (TRT Erzurum correspondent), Yalçın Güler (TRT Erzurum correnspondent), Seyid Kılıç (TRT correspondent). Since August 2016, those eight journalists are kept in detention as part of the government’s investigation following the 15 July 2016 coup attempt.
29 Aug 2016
On 21 August 2016, a court in Van arraigned Ali Aşikar, a journalist working for the Kurdish-language daily newspaper Azadiya Welat, and ordered him jailed pending trial on charges of "committing crimes in the name of [terrorist] organizations" and possessing explosives. Mr Aşikar is kept in detention at Van M type prison since 28 August 2016.
25 Aug 2016
Burçin Dokgöz, a reporter for Zaman newspaper and for Cihan News Agency in the northern Anatolian city of Çorum, was ordered arrested on 21 August 2016.
24 Aug 2016
İsmail Efe, the press consultant of the İzmir Directorate of Tourism, was arrested as a part of ongoing operations against alleged followers of Fethullah Gülen following the failed coup attempt. Efe is currently imprisoned in Aliağa prison in İzmir
24 Aug 2016
Erol Yüksel, a vice president of the news department of state-owned TRT, was ordered arrested on 19 August 2016 as part of the investigation following the coup attempt.
15 Aug 2016
On 10 August 2016, Habervaktim site and founder of Vahdet newspaper, Yener Dönmez, was detained at the Habervaktim Ankara bureau, in the scope of an investigation into the leaking of a sex tape featuring former leader of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deniz Baykal. The video was first published on Akit's unofficial website Habervaktim in 2010. An investigation at the time produced no arrests. Dönmez had been detained earlier in the post-coup investigation.
15 Aug 2016
On 13 August 2016 Tahsin Kürklü, head of Logistics Department of the now-closed Zaman newspaper, was detained by gendarmerie officers in Gürün district of Sivas province and later ordered arrested by a Sivas court. He is said to be the former chauffeur of Ekrem Dumanlı, the former editor-in-chief of daily Zaman who was jailed for “attempting a coup” and “forming an organisation with felonious intent.”
11 Aug 2016
On 10 August 2016, an Ankara court of penal peace arraigned Erdal Şen, former Ankara correspondent for the daily newspaper Habertürk, on suspicion of assisting an alleged high-ranking member of the Hizmet movement to escape after the failed coup. He was released on 21 April 2017, and re-arrested the next day upon objection of the prosecutor’s office.
08 Aug 2016
İsmail Avcı, a former reporter for Zaman newspaper and Cihan News Agency, was arrested on 1 August 2016 as a part of the purge of journalists allegedly linked to Fethullah Gülen. Avcı was reportedly detained in the Yalvaç district of Isparta while trying to hide from police. He is currently being held in the Diyarbakır D-type prison.
08 Aug 2016
On 5 August 2016, police in the western Turkish province of Denizli, detained Resul Cengiz, a former reporter for the shuttered Cihan News Agency. A local court ordered Cengiz jailed pending trial on terrorism charges on 10 August 2016.
01 Aug 2016
Isa Siyi, journalist for Haberdar news site, was arrested on 28 July 2016, among the 88 journalists for whom arrest warrants were issued as part of the reaction to the July 15 military coup attempt.
01 Aug 2016
Abdurrahim Ersöz, a local press correspondent for Cihan news agency In Antalya, was arrested on 28 July 2016 as part of a purge of journalists allegedly linked to the movement headed by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. Mr Ersöz was arrested along with Antalya correspondent Ömer Özdemir from Zaman newspaper and is kept in detention at Antalya L Type Closed Criminal Infrastructure Authority since July 2016.
26 Jul 2016
In the early morning of 26 July 2016, journalist and former parliamentarian Nazlı Ilıcak, one of the 42 journalists named in the arrest warrants as part of the post-coup attempt crackdown operations, was detained in the Bodrum district of the Aegean province of Muğla. According to Turkish media reports, six other journalists appearing on the list were also detained: Yakup Sağlam, İbrahim Balta, Seyit Kılıç, Bayram Kaya, Cihan Acar and Hanım Büşra Erdal.
25 Jul 2016
Mehmet Dener, the owner of the local sanliurfa.com website, was ordered arrested on 22 July 2016 along with the editor-in-chief of the website, Muhammet Taşçılar, as a part of the ongoing investigation into the failed 15 July 2016 coup attempt.
Follow-ups
17 May 2018
OSCE Media Freedom representative welcomes the release of journalists Ali Bulaç and Mehmet Özdemir from pre-trial detention and the vend of house arrest for Şahin Alpay, but increased sentences demanded against other defendants and continued arrests are of great concern.
20 Mar 2018
On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
19 Mar 2018
OSCE media freedom representative welcomes the release of Şahin Alpay but considers that "placing him under house arrest is contrary to the 2nd Constitutional Court ruling".
09 Mar 2018
OSCE representative Désir urges Turkey to release and drop charges against 25 media workers sentenced to prison, including journalists Aksoy and Taş
16 Feb 2018
Life sentences for Turkish journalists are an unprecedented, unacceptable attack on freedom of expression, say OSCE representative on Media Freedom.
19 Jan 2018
The Council of Europe Secretary General refers to the recent decisions of Turkey’s Constitutional Court in his address to the Committee of Ministers
19 Oct 2017
On 10 October 2017, the Commissioner for human rights intervened before the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning the detention of journalists and freedom of expression in Turkey
14 Mar 2017
Opinion of the Venice Commission on the Measures provided in the recent Emergency Decree Laws with respect to Freedom of the Media
15 Feb 2017
Human Rights Commissioner : Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (78):

Abdullah Kılıç, Abdürrahim Ersöz, Ahmet Memiş, Ahmet Yavaş, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Alaattin Güner, Ali Akkuş, Ali Aşikar, Ali Ahmet Böken, Ali Ünal, Ali Yüce, Ayşenur Parıldak, Aytekin Gezici, Aziz İstegün, Bayram Kaya, Beytullah Özdemir, Burçin Dokgöz, Cemal Kalyoncu, Cuma Kaya, Cuma Ulus, Cüneyt Seza Özkan, Emre Soncan, Ercan Gün, Erdal Şen, Erol Yüksel, Faruk Akkan, Fevzi Yazici, Gültekin Avcı, Habip Güler, Hakan Aksel, Hakan Taşdelen, Halil Ibrahim Mert, Hamza Günerigök, Hanim Büşra Erdal, Haşim Söylemez, Hüseyin Aydın, Hüseyin Turan, Ibrahim Balta, Idris Okur, Ilker Ilkan, Isa Siyi, İsmail Avcı, İsmail Efe, Lokman Erdoğan, Mehmet Gündem, Mehmet Kuru, Mümtazer Türköne, Murat Avcioğlu, Murat Dağdeviren, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Mustafa Ünal, Mutlu Çölgeçen, Nazlı Ilıcak, Nadir Yücel, Nuh Gönültaş, Nuri Durna, Nurullah Kaya, Ozan Kaplanoğlu, Ömer Oruç, Ömer Özdemir, Özcan Keser, Osman Yakut, Rabia Özkaya, Ramazan Alkan, Resul Cengiz, Serhat Şeftali, Şeref Yılmaz, Seyid Kılıç, Şirin Çoban, Tahsin Kürklü, Ufuk Şanlı, Ünal Tanık, Vahit Yazgan, Yakup Çetin, Yakup Şimşek, Yalçın Güler, Zafer Özsoy, Murat Aksoy.
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05 May 2019 Lvl. 2
Resolved
Alert created on: 25 Apr 2019 France

Journalist Gaspard Glanz Banned from Covering “Yellow Vests” Protests

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 20 April, Gaspard Glanz, an independent French journalist and founder of Taranis News, was arrested with violence for raising a middle finger to a police officer who had shoved him while covering a gathering of “yellow vests” protesters. Glanz was detained incommunicado for a 48-hour period, and subsequently charged with the “offence to public officials”. Being subject to judicial oversight prevents him from appearing in the French capital any Saturday until his trial on 18 October, as well as on 1st May. This measure prevents him from covering these protests for the next six months. At the 20 April protests, press photographer Alexis Kraland was also placed in custody, for 8 hours. On the same day, journalist Tristan Goldbronn was beaten by the police. Journalists’ organisations have denounced such police violence. Some twenty editorial organisations and several journalists' unions have supported journalist Gaspard Glanz, criticising the fact that he is being prevented from working.
Resolved
New 05 May 2019: On 5 May 2019, taking into consideration the verdict issued by the Paris Criminal Court on 29 April 2019, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be “resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.
Updates
New 29 Apr 2019
On 29 April 2019, the Paris Criminal Court ruled that the first instance judge's ruling banning Gaspard Glanz from travelling to Paris every Saturday and on 1 May until completion of his trial was irregular for lack of sufficient reasons. The Court consequently lifted the ban.
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03 May 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 31 Oct 2016 Turkey

Turkey: Arrest of At Least 12 Employees of Cumhuriyet Newspaper

6 Journalists in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI RSF
No state reply yet
Partner Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI RSF
On 31 October 2016, Turkish police detained at least 12 employees of Cumhuriyet newspaper, Turkey's largest secular, left-leaning paper, and one of the few publications that continues to criticise the government. The detained media workers are accused of membership of, and committing crimes on behalf of, two terrorist organisations: the Kurdistan Workers’ party and the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETÖ), which the government accuses of being behind the failed coup attempt. According to media reports, prosecutors also issued detention warrants for two of the newspaper’s executives, who are both currently abroad.

Following police raids, the following people were taken into custody: Murat Sabuncu (Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief); Güray Öz (Cumhuriyet board executive and columnist); Aydın Engin (former editor-in-chief of the newspaper); Hikmet Çetinkaya (columnist); Eser Sevinç, Hakan Kara, Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Mustafa Kemal Güngör and Önder Çelik (all board members of the Cumhuriyet Foundation); Turhan Günay (Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper’s book supplement); and columnist Kadri Gürsel, who is also the head of the International Press Institute’s Turkey office.
Updates
New 03 May 2019
On 2 May 2019, the Constitutional court ruled that the rights of journalists Kadri Gürsel and Murat Aksoy were violated. (The court has been reviewing rights violations for those arrested after the coup attempt, but its rulings do not automatically affect criminal sentences.) On 2 May 2019, the appeals based on the “breach of fundamental rights” were overruled for Akin Atalay, the former publisher of Cumhuriyet; Murat Sabuncu, Cumhuriyet’s former editor-in-chief; Ahmet Şık, a reporter; and Bulent Utku, a high-level editorial manager.
New 29 Apr 2019
On 25 April 2019, six journalists and executives surrendered to Kandıra prison in Kocaeli province after an appeals confirmation of their jail sentences was officially communicated to Turkey’s National Judicial Informatics System (UYAP) on 19 April. Defendants – Musa Kart, Önder Çelik, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Güray Öz, Hakan Kara and Emre İper – returned to prison to serve the remainder of their sentences.
New 15 Apr 2019
On 19 February 2019, an Istanbul appeals court confirmed the sentences handed down by a lower criminal court in April 2018. Journalists in the case with sentences greater than five years have the possibility of further appeal. Lower sentences are considered final under Turkish law.
26 Apr 2018
On 25 April 2018, an Istanbul court convicted 13 journalists and executives of Cumhuriyet of aiding terrorist organizations and sentenced them to jail terms ranging between two and seven years. The court placed the journalists on probation and banned them from traveling until the appeals process has ended. The judge also ordered the conditional release of Cumhuriyet chairman Akin Atalay. The court acquitted three of the defendants : Bülent Yener, a former board member, Turhan Günay, chief editor of the daily's literary supplement, and Günseli Özatalay, the chief accountant.
12 Mar 2018
On 9 March 2018, the 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul ruled for the release of Murat Sabuncu and Ahmet Şık pending the conclusion of the trial. Sabuncu and Şık remain under judicial control. The daily's chairman, Akın Atalay, however, was remanded in custody until the next hearing, scheduled for 16 March, during which the prosecutor is expected to submit his final opinion.
29 Dec 2017
On 29 December 2017 an Istanbul Court ruled to release Emre İper. He remains under judicial control and an international travel ban.
25 Dec 2017
On 25 December 2017 a judge at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse ruled to keep Ahmet Şık, Akın Atalay, Emre Iper and Murat Sabuncu in jail for at least two more months until the next session of the trial on 9 March 2018.
26 Sep 2017
On 25 September 2017, the Court ruled to release Kadri Gürsel, though he remains on trial on charges of links to terror groups. After completing formalities, he was released from the Silivri prison. The Court confirmed the detention of Akın Atalay, Emre Iper and Murat Sabuncu. Their next hearing is scheduled for 31 October 2017.
12 Sep 2017
On 11 September 2017, a Turkish court confirmed Ahmet Şık's detention. The next hearing is scheduled for 25 September.
12 Sep 2017
On 11 September 2017 a Turkish court Court confirmed the detention of Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu and Kadri Gürsel. Their next hearing is scheduled for 25 September.
31 Jul 2017
On 28 July 2017, an Istanbul court released seven Cumhuriyet journalists and executives. Five are to remain under arrest including Ahmet Şık. The court also decided that additional criminal charges would be brought against Ahmet Şık for his defense statement.
15 Jun 2017
On 14 June 2017, after 30 days of imprisonment, Oğuz Güven was released pending trial. His next hearing is scheduled to take place on 14 September 2017.
16 May 2017
On 12 May 2017, Oğuz Güven, editor-in-chief of the online edition of the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, was detained as part of a criminal investigation led by the Bureau of Press Offences of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul. On 15 May, Güven appeared before a judge, who ordered that he be held in pre-trial detention, on “propaganda for a terrorist organisation” and “defamation against a person’s memory” charges. Both charges against the journalist are solely based on the title of a news report published and tweeted by Cumhuriyet on an online account about the accidental death of a prosecutor. During the hearing, the journalist repeated that the controversial tweet (“the prosecutor who sought the first warrants against FETÖ was cut apart by a truck”) was only visible during 55 seconds, was immediately corrected (“the prosecutor lost life in a serious car accident”) and is one of the 300 tweets per day written by the journalist, that he cannot be suspected of doing anything to support any terrorist organisation. Oğuz Güven is the 12th Cumhuriyet professional arrested by the Turkish authorities on charges of supporting two illegal organisations (PKK and FETÖ) based on opinions and articles published by the newspaper.
19 Apr 2017
On 7 April 2017, Cumhuriyet’s Finance Manager Emre İper was taken into custody during a midnight raid on his home by police. He was arrested on 19 April on charges of using ByLock, a communications app allegedly used by the Fethullah Gülen network and “being member of a terrorsit organisation”.
11 Jan 2017
On 29 December 2016, the investigative journalist Ahmet Şık was detained by Turkish authorities on charges of " propaganda on behalf of an illegal terrorist organisation" and "openly denigrating the Republic of Turkey, its judicial organs and its military and police". Şık tweeted that he was being detained due to a single tweet; a news report stated that the detention also related to various reporting elements including an interview with Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)'s administrator published in Cumhuriyet daily in March 2015. On 30 December, Ahmet Şık was officially put under arrest on charges of spreading propaganda for the PKK, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C) and for the Fethullah Gülen group, an Islamic network the Turkish judiciary refers to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). All three groups are outlawed in Turkey. A report published by the Cumhuriyet claimed that Ahmet Şık had been denied drinking water for three days at Metris Prison, where he was kept before being transferred to Silivri Prison on 3 January. The Justice Ministry's Directorate General for Correctional Facilities released a statement denying the allegation, the official statement claimed Şık was given 1.5 liters of bottled water on 1 January. The Turkish authorities own regulation states that "any inmate has to right to have on daily basis 200 liters of cold water and 50 liters of hot water". Ahmet Şık also claimed that he was denied access to newspaper, pen and books in the cell. Ahmet Şık's access to his lawyers (Can Atalay and Tora Pekin) and family members were also denied during the first 5 days of his detention because the authorities couldn't record the conversation between the lawyers and their client. Şık was previously arrested in March 2011 in relation to an investigation into the Oda TV news website. He spent a year in prison for an unpublished critical book about the Gülen movement supported, at that time, by the AKP government. Today, the journalist is charged with doing propaganda for the same movement.
14 Nov 2016
On 12 November 2016, the CEO of daily Cumhuriyet, Akin Atalay, was arrested for “being a member of a terrorist organization” , upon his arrival at Istanbul Atatürk Airport. A detention warrant had been issued for him on 30 October while he was abroad.
08 Nov 2016
On 5 November 2016, nine journalists and executives from the Cumhuriyet daily were placed under formal arrest by the İstanbul 9th Penal Court of Peace. The daily’s columnists Aydın Engin and Hikmet Çetinkaya were released by the court pending trial. A travel ban was imposed on them. On 4 November 2016, Günseli Özaltay, the accounting manager of the newspaper, and former accounting manager Bülent Yener were released.
Follow-ups
04 May 2018
Secretary General deeply worried by the chilling effect the heavy criminal sentences may have on media freedom
26 Apr 2018
OSCE representative welcomes release of Akın Atalay in Turkey but strongly condemns prison sentences for Cumhuriyet journalists and staff.
23 Mar 2018
All Cumhuriyet journalists must be released, says OSCE representative Désir following continued detention of CEO Atalay
12 Mar 2018
OSCE Media Freedom Representative welcomes the release of two Cumhuriyet journalists, calls on Turkey to free Akın Atalay and drop charges against all defendants
19 Jan 2018
The Council of Europe Secretary General refers to the recent decisions of Turkey’s Constitutional Court in his address to the Committee of Ministers
19 Oct 2017
On 10 October 2017, the Commissioner for human rights intervened before the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning the detention of journalists and freedom of expression in Turkey
26 Sep 2017
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media welcomes the release of Kadri Gürsel and calls for release of imprisoned Cumhuriyet journalists in Turkey.
12 Sep 2017
OSCE Media Freedom Representative renews calls on Turkey to urgently release jailed journalists.
31 Jul 2017
Cumhuriyet trial interim court decision shows urgency to drop charges and release all imprisoned Turkish journalists, says OSCE Media Freedom Representative.
25 Jul 2017
OSCE media freedom representative calls on Turkey to release imprisoned journalists
12 Jun 2017
On 8 June 2017, the European Court of Human Rights communicated to the Turkish Government the case of Sabuncu and Others v. Turkey. The applicants, ten journalists from the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet placed in police custody and subsequently in pre-trial detention on suspicion of having committed offences on behalf of terrorist organisations and disseminating propaganda for them, complained about their pre-trial detention and its duration, and also submit that there has been a breach of their freedom of expression. They further allege that their detention is a sanction against them for criticising the government and amounts to politically-motivated judicial harassment. They rely in particular on Article 5 § 1, 3 and 4 (right to liberty and security / right to speedy review of the lawfulness of detention), Article 10 (freedom of expression) and Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights).
15 Feb 2017
Human Rights Commissioner : Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey
31 Oct 2016
Statement from Secretary General Jagland expressing his concern about state of emergency measures and freedom of expression in Turkey
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (6):

Musa Kart, Önder Çelik, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Güray Öz, Hakan Kara, Emre İper
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02 May 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 30 Apr 2019 Russian Federation

“Sovereign Internet Bill" Adopted

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner Article 19
No state reply yet
Partner Article 19
The bill (No. 608767-7) amends the laws “On Communications” and “On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection” and aims at enabling the Russian Internet to operate independently from the World Wide Web in the event of an emergency or a foreign threat. On 16 April 2019, the State Duma approved the bill in third reading amid widespread domestic criticism, protests and campaigning, and on 22 April 2019, the Federation Council approved it. If signed by President Vladimir Putin, it would become law on 1 November 2019.

The bill gives control over Internet network routing to the state regulator for Telecommunications, Information Technologies and Mass Communications, Roskomnadzor. It provides that the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should “peer” with other ISPs at Internet exchange points (IXes) approved by the authorities, and that these IXes do not allow unapproved ISPs to peer. The bill would also create a centralised system of devices capable of blocking Internet traffic. It requires ISPs to install the devices, which the government would provide free of charge, in their networks. Under this system, Roskomnadzor would monitor threats to Russia’s Internet access and transmit instructions to ISPs through the special devices about countering these threats. Cross-border Internet traffic would be kept under close state control. The draft does not specify what the range of instructions would be, but they could potentially include partially or fully blocking traffic both between Russia and the rest of the World Wide Web, and within Russia. Nor does the draft explain how the new equipment will work, or what specifically it will do. It seems clear, however, that blocking could result from direct interaction between the government and the ISP and that it would be extrajudicial and non-transparent. The public could not know what has been blocked and why.

The bill states that such measures should be activated in the event of a ”security threat”. The draft does not define such threats, and instead gives the government full discretion to decide what would constitute a security threat and what range of measures would be activated. It also makes Russian ISPs liable to filter and block content in accordance with the Russian law.

Further, the bill creates a national domain name system (DNS) that acts as the address-book for the Internet by allowing users to look up the address of the server hosting the URL of a website they are looking for. The bill would require ISPs to start using the national DNS from 1 January 2021. Forcing ISPs to use the national DNS would give Russian authorities the ability to answer any request for a website address, outside the ISPs knowledge and control, with either a fake address or no address at all. This could allow them to conduct fine-grained censorship and let the national DNS to redirect users to government-controlled servers in response to any request, instead of a website’s authentic servers.

The bill could pose a threat to the Internet’s rights-enabling features if access to the World Wide Web is cut off, or if blocking and filtering of content are carried out arbitrarily. It would facilitate state surveillance and curb anonymity online. It also risks isolating people in Russia from the rest of the world. The bill’s impact on the freedom of expression may also affect the rights of journalists and media to work freely.
Updates
New 02 May 2019
On 1 May 2019, President Vladimir Putin signed the "sovereign internet" bill into law.
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29 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 29 Apr 2019 Austria

Austrian News Anchor Targeted in Intimidation Campaign

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner IPI EBU
No state reply yet
Partner IPI EBU
Armin Wolf, a prominent anchor on the Austrian public broadcaster’s main evening news programme ZiB2, received a series of verbal attacks during and following an interview with a representative of Austria’s right-wing FPÖ party, which currently governs the country at the federal level in coalition with the centre-right People’s Party (ÖVP). In the interview, Wolf pressed the representative, MEP Harald Vilimsky, on recent scandals involving extremist statements by party members, including a poem on migration in which the FPÖ vice mayor of the town of Braunau compared people to rats. During the interview, after Wolf drew parallels between a poster by a youth wing of the party and Nazi-era imagery, Vilimsky warned Wolf that his line of questioning “will not remain without consequences” and accused the anchor of deliberately seeking to damage the party. Vilimsky later said he would fire Wolf were he ORF’s director. In the days that followed, FPÖ officials have repeatedly attacked Wolf, with one official, a Vienna city councilwoman, comparing Wolf to a judge on the Nazi-era People’s Court (Volksgerichtshof), which sentenced thousands of political opponents to death following show trials. In an interview on Sunday, the FPÖ-nominated chair of ORF’s board, Norbert Steger, said that if he were Wolf, “I would take a sabbatical, travel around the world on the taxpayers’ dime and reinvent myself”, leading observers to fear an attempt to remove Wolf. Wolf was named Austria’s journalist of the year in 2018.
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26 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 27 Jun 2018 Montenegro

Head of Public Broadcaster Sacked

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner Index RSF
Partner Index RSF
On 7 June 2018, The Council of the Montenegrin public broadcaster RTCG dismissed director Andrijana Kadija, an action seen by the local civil community and journalists as an attempt by ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) to stifle editorial independence, news website tol.org reported. The ostensible reason given for Kadija's dismissal was abuse of office and unprofessionalism, Montenegrin media reported. Six members of the RTCG Council voted to dismiss Kadija, and two voted against her dismissal. Kadija said that the RTCG Council's decision was political in nature and undermined the independence of the public broadcaster. “My only sin is that I am apolitical… I wanted a professional public service for all citizens, and while I was running it, our public service was truly independent. You are not dismissing me as incompetent, but as politically unsuitable”, CDM.me quoted her as saying during the Council meeting. As the RTCG Council met to vote on Kadija's dismissal, about 100 people gathered outside the body's headquarters to protest in support of her, Radio Free Europe reported. According to the same source, the Montenegrin Journalists' Association said RTCG staff were working under “tremendous political pressure” from the government, making it “difficult for reporters and editors to do their jobs professionally.” The European Union issued a statement in which it said that the dismissal of Kadija was “completely unacceptable” and went “against freedom of expression and media which is a fundamental value of the European Union”, news website EUobserver reported.
State replies
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25 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 25 Apr 2019 France

Three Journalists Summoned for Compromising National Defense Classification

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ
A Radio France journalist and two journalists from the collective “Disclose” who revealed the use of French weapons in the war in Yemen, were summoned by the Directorate-General for Internal Security (DGSI) on 14 May as part of the preliminary investigation opened by the Paris Prosecutor-General for "compromising national defence classification", upon a complaint by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces. The reason for the complaint is the publication by Disclose on 15 April of classified documents on the French weapons used in Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Journalists Geoffrey Livolsi, Mathias Destal and Benoît Collombat were informed about their summons by the DGSI on 23 and 24 April. In a joint statement of 24 April, the editorial offices of Arte Info, Disclose, Konbini and Mediapart criticised proceedings that aim to identify the journalists’ sources.
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20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

7 December 2015