General Rapporteur demands explanations over far-reaching media restrictions in Turkey

The General Rapporteur on media freedom of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly has warned that sweeping new restrictions on the media in Turkey could “undermine public trust” in its institutions and hand a victory to the instigators of the failed coup d’état.

Voloymyr Ariev (Ukraine, EPP/CD), who is preparing a report for PACE on “attacks against journalists and media freedom in Europe”, said he was seeking clarification from the head of the Assembly’s Turkish delegation over the closure of media outlets and prosecutions of journalists.

“Following the attempted military coup d’état in Turkey two weeks ago, a huge number of television channels, radio stations, newspapers and Internet media have been closed down by the Turkish government,” said Mr Ariev, himself a former journalist.

“One of the reasons the coup failed was that people in Turkey had access to the media and could follow the events unfolding. As a direct result, many of them were able to publicly protest against the coup,” he pointed out.

“The Turkish authorities must defend freedom of information and expression through the media as a vital requirement and safeguard for any democratic state, in order to prevent undermining public trust in Turkey’s democratic institutions,” said Mr Ariev.

“For these reasons, I have written today to the chair of the Turkish delegation to the Assembly, my parliamentary colleague Professor Talip Küçükcan, asking for urgent clarification of the current situation regarding the closures of media outlets and the criminal prosecutions of journalists, which have been reported to the Council of Europe’s platform to protect journalists.”