Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘William Horsley’

Human Rights, Turkey and the EU

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 19th March, 2009

This evening I was one of the speakers at a big meeting at the LSE, focussing on aspects of the European media’s coverage of Turkey’s progress (or otherwise) towards EU membership. Quentin Peel of the Financial Times was in the Chair at the event, which was organised by the British-Turkish Business Network, BizNET. The other panelists were William Horsley, former European affairs correspondent of the BBC, Ayca Abakan Duffrene of the BBC World Service’s Turkish Service and Ruth Mandel from University College London (UCL). I concentrated on the human rights angle to the subject, pointing out how the EU’s Copenhagen criteria for prospective members puts serious obligations on their governments to make progress in the field of democracy and human rights. To his credit, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has made quite a number of positive reforms since he came to power, though dismayingly these seem to have slowed rather. Moreover, last year there was actually a marked increase in the number of prosecutions against writers and journalists who fall foul of the country’s notorious Article 301, which makes criticising Turkey, Turkish identity or Turkish institutions a crime. Many of these prosecutions are maliciously brought by ultra-nationlist lawyers and others with an axe to grind — not a few of whom would be delighted if Turkey’s road to EU membership were blocked.

Link: www.biznet-uk,org

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Journalists at Risk

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 22nd November, 2008

Journalism has become a far more risky profession since I started out as a cub reporter for the Manchester Evening News and the Geographical Magazine in the Vietnam War. It is not only in war or conflict zones that journalists are often deliberately targeted these days. Just this week, in Yerevan, Armenia, Edik Baghdasarian, who heads the Armenian Association of Investigative Journalists, was violently assaulted by three men as he left his office and could easily have been killed. His ‘crime’ in the eyes of whoever orchestrated the attack was that he has crusaded against high-level corruption. The incident served as a salutory reminder to us members of the Association of European Journalists who have been been meeting in Linz for the past couple of days of the risks that we take.

In a scheduled session on the subject this afternoon, we had presentations fropm Neboysa Bristic (Serbia), Zdenko Duka (Croatia), Krzystof Bobinski (Poland) and Fabrice Pozzolli-Montenay (France), highlighting dangers of diverse kinds, from violent ultra-nationalists to interfering media owners, government attempts to control the media and some irresponsible members of our own profession who have little respect for truth, objectivity or integrity. My old Bush House colleague (and Chairman of the AEJ British Section), William Horsley, who chaired the session, also spoke of the role ‘dumbing down’ has had in contributing to the decline in media standarsd over the past 25 years.

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