Freedom of Speech Costing Freedom

Monday, September 19, 2011

Turkish journalists marched in protest on Sunday in Istanbul’s central Taksim district on the 200th day since journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener were arrested.
“It is not Ahmet and Nedim who are on trial in this case, it is journalism itself that is on trial, press freedom and freedom of expression are sitting in the felon’s dock,” journalists said.
The two arrested journalists, Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, have been in prison for 200 days. In the indictments against them, which were completed more than three weeks ago, they were charged with aiding and abetting the alleged Ergenekon criminal gang.
Some 1,500 people, including members of the Freedom for Journalists Platform, or GÖP, the “Friends of Ahmet and Nedim” group, journalists, and main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, deputies Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Bihlun Tamaylıgil, Süleyman Çelebi, Gürsel Tekin and Umut Oran, marched during the protest.
Those who attended the demonstration held banners that read “No to pressure on media,” “Freedom for journalists,” “Even if we get burned, we will touch it,” referring to Şık’s telling reporters, “Those who touch [the Fetullah Gülen community] get burned” as he was being detained by police on March 6.
Demonstrators chanted slogans like “Ahmet and Nedim are our honor,” “Ahmet will be free and write again, Nedim will be free and write again.”
After marching down İstiklal Avenue, the protesters made a press statement.
“Dozens of journalists like Ahmet and Nedim are in prison and on trial with the charges of dozens of years behind bars because of the research they did and the articles they wrote,” journalists said.
Photo:Creative Commons
“Those who say that ‘Turkey should not be the country of suspicions and fears, it should be the country of freedoms and ideals’ have unfortunately created a country where more than 50 journalists are in jail, more than 4,000 journalists are on trial, books are confiscated before they are published and people are afraid of expressing their thoughts,” journalists said. Journalists said all the information in the indictment against Şık and Şener which are considered as the “evidences”, are in fact “normal activities of journalism.”


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