National Press Club

National Press Club Calls on Turkish Government to Stop Persecuting Journalists

September 1, 2015 | By John Donnelly | jdonnelly@cq.com

The National Press Club sharply disapproves of recent incidents of journalist harassment and repression in Turkey.

According to news reports, two British journalists for Vice News and a Turkish assistant were arrested in Diyarbakir, Turkey and charged yesterday with aiding terrorists. In a separate action earlier today, police raided 23 businesses that include TV stations and newspapers, which according to media reports was related to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's crackdown on a rival.

Turkey must release the Vice journalists and their assistant and show restraint in aggression against the Turkish press as an election approaches, National Press Club President John Hughes said.

“Turkey, the world is watching -- the government must stop using the police and judicial system to suppress free expression,” Hughes said. “Intimidation of journalists through false charges and phony raids is outrageous. Reporters must be free to do their jobs.”

According to Freedom House, press freedom in Turkey has been on the decline for five years and the organization rates journalists in the nation as “not free.” On a scale of 100, with 0 being the best possible score, Turkey rates a 65 in press freedom, according to Freedom House.

Recent actions in Turkey unfortunately renew a pattern that has become more common in that nation. On Jan. 27, the National Press Club held a panel examining the crackdown on press freedom in Turkey. For a recap and video of that event, see: http://bit.ly/1LRNc8X

Established in 1908, the National Press Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. Through its Freedom of the Press Committee, the Club advocates for journalists under siege abroad and at home.