VIENNA, 24 January 2013 - OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today expressed concern over the latest wave of arrests of journalists in Turkey and urged the authorities to reform the country’s anti-terrorism law.
“It is of great concern that another 11 journalists were arrested in Turkey, accused of supporting terrorism,” she said. “I hope the investigations will be transparent and prompt, and will protect the indispensable role that journalists play in providing information to the public.”
According to media reports, 11 journalists were detained in recent police raids that took place in seven regions in Turkey against alleged members of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front. Six journalists are believed to still be in detention, while five were freed after being ordered to pay a bail of 10,000 Turkish liras and report to the police on a weekly basis. Allegedly the journalists were beaten by the police while in custody and were refused appropriate medical care.
In a letter to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, the Representative also repeated concerns about the high number of journalists awaiting trial based on the Anti-Terror Law of Turkey. She said that the latest detentions again show the urgent need for legislative reform.
“I hope that the fourth reform package will include the much-needed amendments to the Anti-Terror Law, and that the new law will clearly distinguish between the exercise of freedom of expression and freedom of the media and any form of support for terrorism,” she said.