The latest report titled Press Freedom in Turkey Today has been published by the Turkey Tribunal in collaboration with International Observatory of Human Rights concluding that Turkey is no longer acting in compliance with the standards of a functioning democracy, because a functioning democracy without an effectively guaranteed freedom of the press is impossible.
The report aimed to answer 2 fundamental questions:
Prof. Dr Johan Vande Lanotte Senior Legal Counsel at Van Steenbrugge Advocates and member of the Turkey Tribunal steering committee said: “Press freedom in Turkey has been so clearly and directly attacked that we can’t consider Turkey to be a real democracy.”
The report urges the Turkish authorities to combat effectively the impunity of state officials for serious human rights violations by conducting adequate, effective and independent investigation and a fair trial on the basis of which perpetrators face justice, but whether that will become reality nonetheless remains very uncertain.
Names of journalists and media outlets where presented in the report as evidence that prosecution and long-term imprisonment are used as a frequent method to supress all those who choose to criticize the state.
Valerie Peay Director of International Observatory of Human Rights said:
“Press freedom in Turkey has always been a point concern especially following the 2016 coup and lately with the clamp down on digital and social media. The Turkish state needs to adhere to its legal and moral obligations and allow the people of Turkey their right to free expression.”
The Turkey Tribunal was set up in early 2020 to establish a framework to review the current situation and the promises made by the Turkish government to improve their dire human rights record. Although not a legally binding body, the calibre of judges, witnesses and experts will give the tribunal authority through transparency to raise awareness among the international community and establish the benchmark for change.
The Turkey Tribunal will present six reports which will be brought before a physical tribunal when it convenes in late autumn in Geneva.
IOHR will also be organizing a series of webinars to supplement the Tribunal and allow the victims, authors and participants to engage with audiences around the world.
The International Observatory of Human Rights has been a strong advocate for human rights reform in Turkey, In January of this year, IOHR partnered with The Press Emblem Campaign to host a discussion that coincided with the UN’s Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of Turkey, a panel that included journalists, civil society, academic experts, NGOs and those with government experience where invited to the Palais des Nations to discuss the unprecedented threat to human rights in Turkey.
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