Press freedom in Turkey violated many times since earthquake - RSF
Journalists seeking to cover the earthquake in Turkey have been repeatedly obstructed by authorities in a variety of ways, Reporters Without Borders said. They called on authorities to end their unacceptable harassment and interference and to respect the right to report.
Press freedom violations observed by RSF since the earthquake include physical violence, arrests, court cases, online attacks, and restrictions on access to Twitter. Journalists have been accused of "defaming the police or the state."
Attempts to control coverage of the disaster and the authorities' response are becoming increasingly evident, according to RSF.
“Many restrictions, attacks, arrests and cases of intimidation of journalists are alarming and must stop at once. Reporters who have been sent to the devastated cities are just doing their job and are working in terrible circumstances. Their reporting is proving to be more essential than ever for everyone,” Erol Onderoglu, the RSF representative in Turkey said.
On February 8, RSF registered three cases in which journalists were arrested on flimsy grounds. Mahmut Altintas, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Mesopotamia Agency (MA), and Sema Caglak, a reporter for the women's news site JinNews, were arrested in Birecik district of Urfa province for not having official press cards, while MA reporter Mehmet Gules was arrested along with a volunteer rescue worker in Diyarbakir province on suspicion of "inciting hatred."
Journalists have also reported being physically attacked and threatened by police. Ferit Demir, a reporter for Halk TV, a TV channel critical of the government, said he was kicked repeatedly by a member of the counter-terrorism police while covering the deployment of the government’s Agency for Natural Disaster Management (AFAD) in the southeastern province of Malatya.