Reporters Without Borders (RSF), one of the world’s leading media freedom organisations, reported last week that it has recorded a ‘growing number of abuses’ by the PYD against reporters and journalists working in Rojava. They allege that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the local security forces (Asayish) have been perpetrating ‘abuses on a large scale’, claiming ‘the PYD and its henchmen have no qualms about arresting or even abducting news and information providers whom they see as too critical in order to silence them and intimidate the others.’
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign received a copy of a letter written to RSF by freelance journalist Karlos Zurutuza, who has worked in Kurdistan for many years, responding to the RSF. Given that the picture drawn in the reports entirely contradicts his experience in the region, he felt obliged to write to the organisation and make his experience public. He makes clear that during the six recent trips he has made to Kurdish-controlled regions of Syria, he has found no evidence of the censorship or harassment detailed in the RSF reports, and has been able to work in Rojava without obstacles from authorities. Karloz requested we publicise his letter to offer readers and the public his personal experience of journalistic work on the ground in Rojava, which is a clear challenge to the claims. We reproduce his letter below.*
*Editors Note: Karlos Zurutuza originally named fellow journalist Mr Massoud Hamid as author of the RSF report. This version of the letter was circulated and published before he knew of this mistake, and has now been replaced with an amended version (below). He has written a public apology to Mr Hamid for the error, which we also publish below. Nonetheless, Mr Zurutuza stands by his statements on his experiences as a journalist in Rojava.
Update and background information on the Pinar Selek case:
THE NIGHTMARE HAS ENTERED ITS 15TH YEAR
Approximately for the last fifteen years, a nightmare is imposed on Pinar Selek, her family and all of us who are waiting for justice. This case which has stopped being a legal mistake or a defect, and turned into a massacre of the law, has entered its 15th year.
The course of events when Pinar Selek was chosen as a target started during her research on the Kurdish Issue in 1997. Under the conditions of that period, her interviewing the parties of that conflict in order to understand and recount the conditions of the war and why peace couldn’t be made was not only brave but also dangerous. It was a time of the ‘memorandums’ which were later admitted as sham by the makers themselves, and when tanks strolled in the streets of the capital, Ankara, in order to ‘fine-tune’. The state was determined to solve the Kurdish Issue by war and by crushing it. Within this period, Pinar Selek was taken into custody by the Police Department on July 11th 1998, was heavily tortured and her research was confiscated because she refused to give the names of those she had interviewed. Continue reading “Pinar Selek case reaches 15th year”
The President of the European Federation of Journalists, which for over a year has been running the Set journalists free in Turkey campaign, recently sent a letter to the Commissioner for EU Enlargement, Stefan Fule, with an urgent call for action to end media clampdowns in Turkey.
You can read the letter below, and here is a response written by Stefan Fule, available to download (pdf).
Commissioner Štefan Füle
Re: Urgent Call for Action to End Media Clampdown in Turkey
18 June 2013
Dear Commissioner Füle,
We are writing as Presidents of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world’s largest organisation representing more than 600.000 journalists and its regional group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) to bring to your attention the serious developments for our colleagues in Turkey.
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) launched an international campaign to set free all journalists in Turkey. Here is the latest update.
- 10 July 2013 – The Gezi protests have shown the rampant institutional bias in Turkey’s media which now leaves little room for facts, by Burcu Baykurt in LSE
- 10 July 2013 – Female journalist Zeynep Kuray not to get Alpi Award in Italy because of judicial travel ban, ANSA
- 10 July 2013 – Turkey: End police violence against journalists. (DE, FR, TR), by Sedat Erdin in Hürriyet
- 8 July 2013 – 13 reporters have been injured and 2 arrested, Bianet in Turkish
- 8 July 2013 – Turkey police arrest 59 protesters (12 journalists), Voice of Russia
- 8 July 2013 – Council of Europe: Turkey: police violence must not go unpunished, Council of Europe
- 5 July 2013 – Plus de 60 journalistes emprisonnés, par Patrick Kamenka dans Humanité Dimanche (PDF)
- 4 July 2013 – Journalistes derrière les barreaux, par François Janne d’Othée dans Afrique Asie (PDF)
- 4 July 2013 – The Government of Poland and the MFA are concerned about the violence that occurred in Istanbul, Anna Sochanska in a letter to the President of EFJ
- 2 July 2013 – Turkeyh : Press freedom fight continues as media crackdown escalates, in EFJ Focus newsletter
Below is an update from the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) international campaign to set free all journalists in Turkey.
- 02 July 2013 – List of international and Turkish journalists and photographers injured during the Gezi Park events in Istanbul (soon available in English / in Turkish)
- 30 June 2013 – Ground Zero – Turkey : Journalist Tim Pool’s first assignment was to do a live stream of the protests against the construction of a mall in Gezi Park (video)
- 28 June 2013 – Lettre d’AVOCATS.BE à M. Erdogan, Premier ministre de la République de Turquie, au sujet de la situation des avocats en Turquie, in full here (Fr) (PDF)
- 26 June 2013 – UK Parliament, Early Day Motion : Attacks On Media Freedoms In Turkey, by MP Jeremy Corbyn e.a.
- 25 June 2013 – Beviser plantet mod journalist (in Danish), by Esben Ørberg
- 17 June 2013 – Der Deutsche Journalisten-Verband hat gegen die Medienhetze des türkischen Ministerpräsidenten Recep Tayyip Erdogan protestiert, in full here
- 17 June 2013 Journalists Call for International Action to End Crackdown on Media in Turkey – Join the Action Now!
- Continue reading “Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ campaign update”
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) pursues its international campaign to Set Free Journalists in Turkey.
Please find below the latest news on the matter; note also that today the latest hearing in the KCK case in Istanbul takes place. EFJ is there observing the trial. You can find in-depth information following the link of 19 April. This Friday, a press conference at AJP in Brussels with observers who have been to Istanbul will report on the case.
· 19 April 2013 – KCK Press case: Set our colleagues free, says EFJ, EFJ website
· 18 April 2013 – European Parliament approves 2012 Turkey progress report, EP website
· 15 April 2013 – Tweeting Turkish pianist given sentence for blasphemy, Can Sezer/Ece Toksabay
· 8 April 2013 – Turkey peace talks positive; press freedom still in peril, Özgür Öğret
· 27 March 2013 – “Decriminalize dissent” – Amnesty International report
· 26 March 2013 – After 743 in prison still no freedom for Yalçin Küçük, EFJ website