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International Observatory of Human Rights Commemorates World Press Freedom Day in Sweden

3 May 2018

Time: 7pm – 8.15pm
Location:  Café Panorama, Kulturalhusen, 111 57 Stockholm, Sweden

The International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR), in collaboration with the Stockholm Center for Freedom, is holding an event in Stockholm, Sweden to examine press freedom across the globe with a specific focus on the crackdown on media in Turkey – described as the leading jailer of journalists. The event brings together exiled Turkish journalists currently residing in Sweden, and a previously incarcerated Swedish journalist. IOHR aims to put the spotlight on Turkey and call for President Erdogan to prevent further violations of freedom of expression and freedom of information.

Speakers:

  • Mr Martin Schibbye – Swedish journalist and press freedom advocate who spent 438 days in Kaliti prison, Ethiopia
  • Mr. Abdullah Bozkurt – Abdullah Bozkurt is a journalist who lives in exile in Sweden, and author of the book titled “Turkey Interrupted: Derailing Democracy”
  • Mr. Levent Kenez – Levent Kenez is a Turkish journalist living in exile. He was the editor-in-chief of Meydan Daily.

Moderator: 

Valerie Peay, Director of the International Observatory of Human Rights

Background:

World Press Freedom Day

Sweden was the first country to safeguard press freedom in 1766 when the Swedish Riksdag (Parliament) passed the Freedom of the Press Act that prohibited censorship of printed publications.

Over 200 years later, the UN General Assembly launched World Press Freedom Day, the annual commemoration of press freedom across the globe. This was in response to African journalists producing the landmark Windhoek Declaration (1991) on media pluralism and independence. 

World Press Freedom Day now marks its 25th year of celebration, having started in 1993.

Current situation of Press Freedom in Turkey

In Turkey, the profession of journalism is under heavy scrutiny. Journalists can no longer convey the truth safely, unless it is the ‘truth’ that the Turkish state endorses.

Turkey was ranked 102nd in the Reporters without Borders Worldwide Press Freedom Index for 2008. Now, in the Worldwide Press Freedom Index for 2018, Turkey ranks 157th out of 180 nations included in the report.

Before the 15 July 2016 attempted coup, only 33 journalists were languishing in Turkish prisons. Since then, according to the Stockholm Center for Freedom, close to 250 journalists are currently behind bars. On top of this, 2,300 media workers have been fired and the government has terminated operations for more than 200 media outlets.

The #FreeTurkeyMedia online campaign continues to grow in significance to remind the world that those behind bars are not forgotten and must be freed.

For more information and if you would like to attend, please contact [email protected].

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