Event: Free speech on trial — journalists, writers and academics under attack in Turkey

Media 2 min read
ARTICLE 19
Event: Free speech on trial — journalists, writers and academics under attack in Turkey - Media

People protest attacks on press freedom outside the offices of the Kurdish-focused newspaper 'Ozgur Gundem', in response to the arrest of three prominent human rights lawyers who were arrested for 'colluding with terrorists' for their part in guest editing the newspaper. Photo: Guy Martin / Panos

The Foreign Policy Centre,  Article 19 and Reporters Without Borders are organising an important seminar to shine a spotlight on the challenges against free speech in Turkey.

When: Tuesday, 22 May 2018 from 18:00 to 19:30 (BST)

Where: Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, House of Commons London SW1A 2JR

Since the 2016 failed coup attempt, human rights activists argue the State of Emergency measures imposed by the government have been used to silence dissent and restrict any political opposition in Turkey. While issues of censorship and media oppression predate the failed coup, numbers of arrested journalists, writers and academics have soared since 2016. The recent wave of trials for journalists, writers and publishing staff in 2017 and 2018 are showing the use of increasingly severe charges such as ‘conspiring to overthrow the constitution’ and ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’ with no evidence apart from their criticisms of the government in their newspaper columns or TV interviews. While there is rising consensus among the international community that the rule of law in Turkey is flawed, time is running out for men and women on trial. Hundreds of journalists and writers are being denied the right to a fair trial, many have endured pre-trial detention for more than two years under highly restrictive conditions as ‘terror suspects’. The European Court of Human Rights’ recent ruling on the cases of writers Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay confirmed that Turkey cannot continue to use the state of emergency as a pretext for violating individuals’ rights to liberty and free expression.

Given deep concerns about the politicisation and effectiveness of the judiciary and legal system in Turkey, panelists will seek to discuss how the international community should act to help address the political obstacles to free expression standards in Turkey and reinstate the rule of law.

Speakers

Figen Çalıkuşu, Mehmet Altan’s lawyer

Nurcan Baysal, Kurdish human rights defender and writer

Erol Önderoğlu, a journalist and Reporters Without Borders’s representative in Turkey

Georgia Nash, Programme Officer, ARTICLE 19

Martin Whitfield MP, MP for East Lothian

Chair: Stephen Twigg MP, Chair of the international development select committee

Please click here to RSVP via Eventbrite to attend the event.