AK Party gov’t imposes covert media ban on critical media outlets at G-20

Several Turkish media organizations known for expressing critical views of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government have not yet been granted accreditation by the government to cover the G-20 (the Group of 20) summit despite the fact that there is only one week left until the summit in Antalya on Nov. 15-16.
Despite most other media organizations receiving confirmation from the Office of the Prime Minister, Directorate General of Press and Information (BYEGM) about a month ago, the Zaman daily, Todayand’s Zaman, the Cihan News Agency and the SandOzcandu daily have still not been granted accreditation to cover the summit. Speaking to Todayand’s Zaman, the Taraf daily Ankara Bureau Chief Handuseyin andOzay said on Monday that, due to the government imposed general ban to Taraf on events which the president, prime minister and ministers attend, Taraf has not even consider applying for the government accreditation to cover the G-20.
and”We donand’t even receive any press statements from the government. We did not think it was necessary to apply for G-20 accreditation, knowing perfectly well that it will not be granted. We never receive any invitations to government events, while other media organizations are invited,and” told andOzay.
After inquiring about the accreditation process to G-20, Todayand’s Zaman Ankara Managing Editor Deniz Arslan received an e-mail message on Monday from the G-20 media team, saying that the application is still under consideration, despite there only being five days left until the summit.
Journalist andOzlem Gandurses from the SandOzcandu daily told Todayand’s Zaman that she called the BYEGM office to ask about her accreditation and was told that it still had not been granted.
Gandurses was also told by a BYEGM employee that in order to grant her media accreditation the BYEGM awaits for an approval from the National Police Department. and”I donand’t even have a parking ticket. Why would it take so long to receive an approval from the police department, I donand’t understand? But we all know whatand’s happening here. It is very obvious. The government is imposing a media ban,and” Gandurses said. Gandurses also said another journalist from SandOzcandu, Saime Topbai, also applied for accreditation and is still waiting for it to be granted.
A number of journalists from Zaman and Cihan News Agency also received similar answers from the BYEGM, saying that their accreditation is under consideration. The leaders of the worldand’s biggest economies will gather in Antalya for the G-20 summit. The G-20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the European Union. The EU is represented by the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
The Turkish Journalistsand’ Association (TGC) Secretary General Sibel Ganduney told Todayand’s Zaman on Monday that the government-imposed accreditation ban has long been a problem in Turkey for years and the government arbitrarily cancels press accreditations. and”The ruling party is preventing journalists from doing their jobs if they are working for newspapers which publish stories that disturb the government,and” Gandunei said.
and”Accreditation bans are imposed in many places, from government events to graveyards. After the State Council, it is worrisome that the accreditation ban is being imposed at the G-20. This is discrimination against journalists trying to inform the public about the summit. A media ban is an attempt to prevent the public from receiving information,and” she added. Gandunei also said that in modern democratic countries a media ban cannot be accepted and added that the TGC expects the government to end this wrongdoing.
Journalist Yavuz Baydar who is the founder of the Platform for Independent Journalism (P24) told Todayand’s Zaman that the government imposed ban on media is wrong and it prevents press freedom and peopleand’s right to receive news. and”It seems to me that the media ban during the G-20 summit will be added to Turkeyand’s fail grade on its democracy report card,and” said Baydar. Baydar said he expects democratic leaders to strongly oppose these kinds of wrongdoing.
Political parties also expressed their dismay at the media ban during the G-20 summit. and”It seems that the AK Party will continue in its fanatic stand against press freedoms which started long before the election campaign, despite promising the nation they would embrace all parts of this society after the election. The AK Party now confirms that they were insincere when they said theyand’d embrace everyone,and” said ismet Banduyandukataman Secretary General of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to Todayand’s Zaman on Monday.
and”Imposing a media ban at the G-20 summit is very sad for the reputation of our country. Turkey has lost its standing in the international arena, due to wrongful AK Party policies and with regard to Syria we are not even invited to the table to find a solution to this conflict,and” he added. Banduyandukataman also said that he condemns the government for imposing a media ban.
Ayhan Bilgen, spokesman for the pro-Kurdish Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP) told Todayand’s Zaman that Turkey has failed at providing press freedom and that it is a shame to impose a media ban for an international meeting. He pointed out that receiving information is a constitutional right of the Turkish people. and”Discriminating against the opposition media means that the AK Party views them as an enemy. We call on the government to end this media ban which doesnand’t have a place in a democratic society,and” he said.
h2 Press statements, protests banned in Antalya G-20 areah2 Meanwhile the Antalya governorand’s office has announced that all kinds of protests and press statements in the G-20 summit area of Belek have been banned from Nov. 9-18.
The governorand’s office said in a statement on Monday that the imposed ban in the Belek area aims to andquotprotect the national security, public order, general health and ethics, rights and freedoms and it also aims to prevent crimes.andquot
The Turkish government has been taking extraordinary security measures for the summit and about 7,000 police officers have been brought to Antalya. The total number of police officers will be 12,000. Moreover, the Belek area is now a andquotred areaandquot and no one except the world leaders attending the summit and their accompanying delegations will be allowed in the red area.
Ali Aslankiliandc in Ankara contributed to this report

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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