18th Feb 2014 – In Turkey, around 200 journalists protested against censorship and government pressure on the media. Many referred to the ruling party when they chanted “AK Party get your hands off the media”.
Last week, recordings were leaked on the Internet purportedly of Turkish TV executives manipulating an opinion poll and sacking reporters under government pressure. Journalist Hilmi Hacaloğlu explained: “The government is trying to control the media by using the bosses or the journalists close to them. Journalists are saying they’ve had enough and we gathered here in the traditional press district.
The demonstrators marched to the Istanbul Governor’s Office. Journalist Çiğdem Anad read a declaration calling to an end to pressure on the media: “The censorship is squeezing the journalists. Pressure, censorship and auto censorship is burning the media. The prime minister is interfering with live reports and even subtitles.”
The protests have reignited a debate about restrictions on press freedom, something the EU candidate nation is very familiar with.