Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Stand up for Press Freedom!

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 14th December, 2014

imageEarlier this week, I was asked by the Turkish newspaper Daily Zaman for a comment on credible rumours that a host of media professionals in Turkey were about to be arrested. Alas, this prediction has proved to be true and several high-profile journalists and broadcasters have been taken into custody, notably people connected with media linked to the Gulen Movement. This is a disturbing development and gives Turkey the dubious distinction of once more being the country with the most journalists in jail. It is sad (to say the least) that President Erdoğan and the AKP government think it is worthwhile joining the company of Egypt and other repressive regimes in trying to stifle dissent. They just don’t seem to understand that a free media is part and parcel of a healthy democracy and that free expression is a fundamental human right — even if they have signed up to the UN Declaration of Human Rights. So standing up for press freedom is standing up for our own freedom as human beings. Accordingly, just as I have been campaigning for the release of Peter Greste and other Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned on trumped-up charges in Egypt so I shall campaign for the release of those media figures being held in Turkey. I have long considered myself a friend of Turkey and it saddens me beyond words that it is moving backwards on press freedom and in several other ways.

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