After Gezi Park protests hundreds of journalists lost their jobs, dozens of media portals bowed down to authority and gave in. There were a few courageous journalists who tried to stand up straight and carry out their duty towards public at large. Many of them were subjected to physical attacks, lynching campaigns, digital lynching, reputation-assasination attempts. Yesterday marked a new low in AKP’s approach to press freedom in Turkey. The newspaper that was established by the fired-journalists right after Gezi Protests, Karsi (the Opposed) was raided by policemen.
According to the chief editor of Karsi, the police did not present any court order or mandate to raid the building, or take hold of servers. Police arbitrarily raided the building and shouted to remove news pieces regarding the corruption probe that was leaked to public eye in Turkey between 17-25 December 2013. There was no involvement of courts in this illegal request, the editors demanded the raid to be stopped but the answer was loud and clear: “unless critical news pieces are removed, the whole newsportal will be blocked!”
Today, surprisingly access to Karsi‘s newsportal online was blocked… The portal continues to use a proxy newsportal for now “uncensored news” (sansursuz haber) until it also gets subjected to same treatment.
Another surprise news of the day is that newly established “Gri Hat” (Grey Line) newsportal is also taken to court and blocking access is declared, for potential to distribute critical news material which has published the corruption records on the newsportal. Gri Hat was established not more than a month ago by unemployed/fired journalists and it was going to leak more news pieces regarding all kinds of corruption.
Turkey still scores terribly bad in terms of press freedom with dozens of journalists imprisoned (highest number in the world) and reporters being targeted on a daily basis, shown as target by government officials, subjected to physical attacks and all-so-used-to censorship. When combined with censorship attempts on internet, books, movies and all other news platforms, it is not hard to see the trend’s direction and momentum in the coming days. If alternative/opposed news portals continue getting raided or subjected to threats and give in to such pressure, the future of democracy hangs on spikes in Turkey.