In our country, press and publication organizations require no permission to begin operations apart from providing notification. Likewise, conducting journalism requires absolutely no permission from the state.
Recent moves to cancel the press cards of the employees of Özgür Gündem, a newspaper whose offices have been bombed and whose employees have been murdered, is a concealed attempt to impose censorship and legitimize whatever happens to the paper’s journalists.
There have been attempts to create the impression that only journalists possessing a “Yellow Press Card” issued by the Directorate General of Press and Information (BYEGM) can be considered journalists. On the contrary, a press card is merely a means for journalists to introduce themselves and, legally speaking, cards from their organization are sufficient to allow them to practice their craft. Moreover, the requirement for taking photos on the street is not a press card but a camera.
In a country in which the president says he has no respect for the law, it is not difficult to appreciate that the law exists only on paper. We recall how Evrensel’s Metin Göktepe was detained and killed merely because he did not possess a press card issued by the state. Meanwhile, there are journalists spending the rest of their days in prison who are not even afforded the distinction of being categorized as journalists because they did not possess such a press card.
We’ve said it before, and we’re saying it again now: The state’s provision of press cards for the purposes of conducting journalism is a tool for control and censorship. No press organization should facilitate such control – journalists that do stand to bear the consequences.