British Embassy in Turkey hosted a panel discussion on media in the digital age titled "Media in the Digital Age: Challenges and Opportunities" that was supported by the Chevening Alumni Programme Fund (CAPF). The panel was hosted by British Ambassador Dominick Chilcott at the British Embassy Residence.
The Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS) said that 250 journalists went on trial in the country in 2019 due to their reporting and they received 133 years imprisonment in total. Turkey is the world's second largest jailer of journalists after China with 108 journalists behind bars, said a report released by the main opposition CHP deputy Çakırözer on the occasion of January 10 Working Journalists’ Day.
After criticizing Islamist writer and Yalova University lecturer Ebubekir Sifil for defending polygamy, the Youtube news channel Babiali TV has been temporarily prevented from broadcasting after copyright complaints from Sifil and another prominent Islamist. Sifil had previously stated that men have the right to have multiple wives in different provinces.
Five journalism and publication organizations have highlighted the problems the media sector in Turkey has been going through, saying the number of unemployed journalists in the country currently exceeds 11,000. The meeting also said that approximately 12,000 journalists have faced prosecution between 2003-2018.
Journalists from the opposition daily Sözcü received up to three and a half years in prison for aiding the Gülen organisation. "There are no concrete documents that show I knowingly aided the Gülen organisation. It's impossible that we would stand with people who trade religion and Allah," said author Necati Doğru. The secular daily is known with its hard-drawn Kemalist stance, a school of thought that supports the founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his take on secularism.
Fatin Dağıstanlı, a presenter for Islamic fundamentalist Akit TV, has called for bombing daily Cumhuriyet, prompting opposition lawmakers, press groups and bar associations to slam the move. "Let's gather altogether and throw a hand grenade in front of daily Cumhuriyet," Dağıstanlı said, sparking outrage on social media, with many users urging prosecutors to take action against him.
A regulation concerning the mandatory licensing of internet broadcasting went into effect on Aug. 1 on this year, creating fears that this would lead to censorship of internet content including that which is broadcasted on streaming sites like Netflix and Turkey's BluTv. RTÜK denied accusations that fees are a step towards censorship and requested that the lawsuit to cancel the regulation be thrown out.
Turkey's Press Advertisement Institution has been blocking the ads of opposition dailies Evrensel and Birgün in a move that journalists describe as an attempt to silence critical media. "They are carrying out a system that aims to eliminate the newspapers as a whole," Birgün Board Chairman İbrahim Aydın told Duvar, while Evrensel Editor-in-Chief Fatih Polat said that the press institution has been implementing a systematical siege on the newspapers critical of the government.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has praised former media mogul Aydın Doğan, while thanking him on behalf of the country and the people. Doğan, who founded and ran Doğan Holding until 2010 and is currently the honorary chairman of the conglomerate, had a rocky relationship with Erdoğan before selling the company's media arm to pro-government Demirören Holding in 2018. "In addition to being a successful businessman, he is a good culture and arts man," Erdoğan said.
On Dec. 3, 1994 Istanbul and Ankara offices of the Özgür Ülke (Free Country) newspaper were bombed. One employee was killed and 23 were injured in the attacks. The perpetrators of the bombing were never caught.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay has said that the press cards of 685 journalists were canceled over "national security." "Press cards of 685 press members who were determined to be working for or in contact with media outlets that were determined to be members of or in contact with groups that pose threats against national security were canceled in the process following the July 15 treacherous coup attempt," he said.
Journalists who were previously fired from daily Hürriyet have released a video clip, demanding their severance pay from the company. The journalists are believed to have been fired for their membership in the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS).
Turkey's Constiutional Court (AYM) has ruled than an article guaranteeing that journalists who do not receive their overtime pay on time get an additional five percent per day that it is not paid is unconstitutional, declaring that the article puts too much of a burden on the employer. Independent lawyers and unions criticize the court's decision for comparing conditions required for a free press with other professions.
An Istanbul court has confirmed the convictions against 12 former employees of Cumhuriyet, despite their sentences having been overturned by a higher court in September. The Court of Cassation, Turkey's high court of appeals, had in September overturned the sentences and freed the former journalists pending retrial. But in a ruling on Nov. 21, the lower court ignored that decision and reconfirmed the original sentences, with the exception of one journalist – Kadri Gürsel – who was acquitted.
Eight international press freedom and journalism organizations have highlighted the continued jailing of over 120 journalists in Turkey as "a deep stain on the country's human rights record" at the launch of a joint report in Brussels. "Turkey must urgently revise all anti-terror and defamation laws, repeatedly abused to silence critical press. In particular it must end the deliberate conflation of public criticism with terrorism propaganda," says the report.