Turkey. Nine press freedom and journalism groups to examine media freedom crisis ahead of 2023 election

A coalition of international journalism, press freedom and human rights groups will carry out a three-day mission to Turkey this week to investigate serious and persistent threats to independent journalism in the country.

The mission is being framed as a new ‘disinformation’ bill which will further strengthen the government’s powers to censor news and information passed to parliament.

The bill, with its vaguely worded definition of disinformation and its equally vague reference to “intent”, and with its implementation overseen by Turkey’s highly politicized judicial system, will expose millions of Internet users to sanctions. and could lead to widespread censorship and self-censorship ahead of the 2023 elections.

From October 12-14, mission delegates will meet in Ankara, Istanbul and Diyarbakir, as well as online, with editors, journalists, local civil society groups, Turkish MPs from various political parties , members of government regulatory bodies, foreign diplomats, European Union officials, representatives of the world’s leading technology companies and the Turkish Constitutional Court.

In addition to disinformation legislation, other issues the coalition intends to raise are the prosecution and judicial harassment of journalists; the safety of journalists, especially in the run-up to next year’s elections; press accreditation; surveillance of journalists; and the (lack of) judicial independence and its effects on freedom of the press.

Led by the International Press Institute (IPI) and the Turkish National Committee of the IPI, the mission includes representatives from Amnesty International Turkey, ARTICLE 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT), PEN International, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the South East European Media Organization (SEEMO ).

The mission will hold a press conference at 10:30 a.m. (9:30 a.m. CEST) in Istanbul and at 11:30 a.m. (10:30 a.m. CEST) in Diyarbakır on Friday, October 14 to share the results of the meetings and the partner organizations’ analysis on the state of press freedom in Turkey.

Press conferences will take place at Postal (Beyoğlu, Istanbul) and Dicle Fırat Gazeteciler Derneği (Diyarbakır) and will be held in Turkish and English.

To register in advance for the press conference or for interview requests, please contact:

The mission is organized by the International Press Institute as part of the #FreeTurkeyJournalists campaign, in cooperation with Media Freedom Rapid Response.

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