Jailed journalist Baransu makes call for joint stance against pressure on media

Journalist Mehmet Baransu, who was jailed in March for publishing documents concerning a military coup plot dating to 2003, has called on all journalists, politicians and the public to take a joint stance against all kinds of pressure on media, no matter the source.
Breaking his silence 98 days after his incarceration, Baransu made the call from his column in the Taraf daily on Thursday.
He said recent legal actions taken by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against journalists Sedat Ergin and Can Dandundar prompted him to speak on the developments.
Last month, criminal complaints were filed against both Ergin and Dandundar. Ergin drew the ire of both Erdogan and the government for a headline in his Handurriyet daily about the life penalty handed down to Egyptand’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi. Erdogan claimed the headline implied a similar fate is waiting for Erdogan. Dandundar faces an aggravated life sentence and an additional 42-year term of imprisonment for publishing video footage of what his Cumhuriyet daily said were arms being illegally transferred to Syria on trucks operated by the National Intelligence Organization (MiT).
Baransu said the charges leveled against the journalists are very similar to the charges he faces due to his publication of documents related to the Sledgehammer coup plot.
and”At a time when the Constitution, law and freedom of the press are violated, I hope Can Dandundar will not share my fate. I hope not a single journalist will be placed behind bars, in a prison cell. Yesterday, we did not extend support to each other due to andlsquoour fights.and’ Now it is time to set fights aside and stand with Can Dandundar, Sedat Ergin and hundreds of journalists who are being victimized,and” Baransu wrote.
Today, there are dozens of journalists in Turkey who are being prosecuted for their news reports or just because of criticism of the government or Erdogan on social media. The AK Party government has been heavily criticized for curtailing freedom of the press in the country.
Baransu questioned some politicians, such as Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kiliandcdaroilu and Democratic Peopleand’s Party (HDP)o-chair Selahattin Demirtai and journalists who raised their voices against the investigation launched against Dandundar, but failed to do so when Baransu himself was jailed.
The journalist said he did not write his article because he was happy about what happened to Dandundar or Ergin, and said he is of the belief that just as what was done to him was unlawful, what is being done to these two journalists and hundreds of others is as well.
and”It was the military that was using its authority over the press yesterday, and it is the government today. Yesterday, it was the military who suspended the Constitution, today the government is doing the same. As press members, we could not take a joint stance [against pressure] yesterday, now it is time to become aware of the danger and give a joint reaction. I am with you Can Dandundar, I am with you Cumhuriyet. You could also write my name on the story [about MiT trucks]. I am responsible [for the story, a reference to a show of support from other Cumhuriyet daily employees in which they claimed responsibility for the article],and” Baransu wrote in his column.
The Taraf journalist, who is charged with acquiring confidential documents, has been placed under arrest five times because of documents he used in his reports. He received journalism awards for making an extensive contribution to the end of the military guardianship after he exposed the most recent coup plans drafted to destroy Turkish democracy. But now, five years after exposing the coup plans, he is behind bars.