Chomsky says journalism is being murdered in Turkey

World famous linguist and activist Noam Chomsky has criticized Turkish authorities for cracking down on the Turkish media and undermining the countryand’s democracy by muzzling dissent.
Chomsky, along with Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, wrote in an op-ed in Washington Post that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a andquotpast master at stifling the cries of freedom,andquot leveling harsh criticism against the governmentand’s handling of the media just days before the G-20 summit in Antalya.
andquotAs journalists from around the world converge on Antalya to cover this weekendandrsquos Group of 20 summit, many of their Turkish colleagues are being denied accreditation,andquot Chomsky and Deloire complained.
Hundreds of international journalists have started arriving in Antalya to cover the G-20 summit on Nov. 15-16. However, several Turkish media outlets which are critical of the government are still waiting to be granted accreditation.
Reporters from Zaman, Todayand’s Zaman, SandOzcandu and the Cihan news agency and Samanyolu TV are still waiting for their accreditation although state media affairs body granted accreditation for most Turkish media outlets approximately one month ago.
The authors said sidelining opposition media has become andquota bad habitandquot in Turkey, which is ranked 149th out of 180 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index. They recalled that Turkish police stormed ipek Media Group headquarters and shut down its two opposition dailies and two opposition TV stations just four days before the elections.
andquotJournalism is being murdered,andquot Chomsky and Deloire wrote, adding that the regaining absolute majority in the Parliament has not sufficed for Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to halt the oppression. Two days after the elections, the authors wrote, two journalists from critical Nokta daily were jailed on charges of and”inciting an armed revolt against the stateand” in a story. Since then, some 30 other journalists have been placed under investigation for and”terrorist propagandaand” or and”insulting the presidentand” andmdash the two most common charges.
Chomsky and Deloire also claimed that the growing concentration of media ownership in the hands of government allies has eroded pluralism and encouraged self-censorship.
The authorities have also reined in the Internet. Following draconian reforms, they claimed, the blocking of Web sites has become systematic. Turkey is responsible for more than two-thirds of the requests to Twitter to remove content, they highlighted.
The authors said these practices compound problems inherited from the years of military rule: laws restricting freedom of expression, a judicial culture centered on defense of the state and impunity for police violence.
andquotThe G-20andrsquos leaders must take stock of the course on which their host has embarked,andquot Chomsky and Deloire said, adding that these leaders need a stable Turkey to help limit the spread of the Syrian chaos and to guarantee its peopleandrsquos security and prosperity.
andquotThe Turkish government must stop fueling tension and, for this, it is essential that the truth can be told. Reopening the space for democratic debate is essential for stabilizing the country. Freedom of information is part of the solution,andquot the authors wrote.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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