Turkey’s press council slam ErdoIan and DavutoIlu for press ban at airport opening

The Press Council, an independent journalism foundation in Turkey, issued a statement on Tuesday expressing dismay over journalists being barred from an airport opening by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu scheduled for later in the day in the countryand’s southeastern province of Hakkari.
In a statement titled andquotAgain, why banning? Again, why accreditation?andquot the Press Council said press freedom and peopleand’s rights of access to information, which are basic elements of a democracy, are being violated in the andquotNew Turkey,andquot 12 days before a general election is due to occur. The Press Council described the accreditation bans implemented against some journalists regarding the airport opening as andquotantidemocratic and unacceptable.andquot
According to the statement, the reporters who were banned from the planned event received an explanation from the Hakkari Governorand’s Office, which said the decision had been made by the Presidential Press Office and the reason behind the ban was not known.
The Press Council said in its statement: andquotWell as the Press Council we are asking: Why are some journalists prevented from covering a public ceremony? Some journalists being denied a right, to which some others are entitled, is a clear indicator of discrimination. This is censorship. We demand the end of these practices and the mindset that stops people from exercising their right to access information, once again.andquot
Media reports this week stated that civil servants in the province of Hakkari were told they would face legal action if they did not attend Tuesdayand’s opening ceremony, at which Erdogan and Davutoilu would be present.
After a corruption scandal which became public on Dec. 17, 2013, implicating then-Prime Minister Erdogan and members of his family and close associates, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) developed a habit of banning dissident newspapers and TV stations critical of government policies from covering events held by the government or attended by its members.
The Turkish Journalists Association (TGC), the Press Council and civil society members had previously issued another statement condemning the AK Party and Erdogan for a selective ban on media outlets during the announcement of Erdoganand’s nomination as the AK Partyand’s presidential candidate in July of last year.
The AK Party failed to issue press badges to a number of newspapers, effectively prohibiting certain outlets from covering the announcement of the AK Partyand’s candidate for the presidential election, which was held on Aug. 10, 2014.
Furthermore, other independent and critical media outlets, including Zaman, Cihan, the Bugandun daily, Aydinlik daily, Evrensel daily and Kanaltandurk TV station, were denied accreditation to cover the AK Partyand’s extraordinary congress that was held on Aug. 27, 2014.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman