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Cts, Tem

Freedom of the press in Turkey is regressing with every passing day in inverse proportion to the number of journalists who come to fill the country’s jails as arrestees.

Of our 39 colleagues who are in jail, 13 are from the Dicle News Agency (DİHA). DİHA has a particularly important role to play in informing the public about what is happening in areas in which there are curfews and clashes.

Like the other arrested journalists, DİHA reporters have been arrested on charges like spying and conducting terrorist propaganda. The government, meanwhile, claims that they aren’t even journalists. Don’t forget what government officials and their court chroniclers said about colleagues of ours who were held in jail for more than a year for a book that hadn’t even been published: namely, that they weren’t journalists and that a book can be as dangerous as a bomb. Sometime later, these same people claimed to have been duped on the matter.

Now, however, they have returned to claiming that none of the journalists currently under arrest are journalists. One of these journalists is DİHA’s Nedim Oruç, who is facing crimes that include not informing the security services about the digging of trenches and the erection of barricades in Silopi!

Nedim Oruç will finally appear before a judge tomorrow after six months in prison because he sought to provide information to the public, rather than be an informant.

As DİSK Basın-İş, we will follow this case. We demand that Nedim Oruç and all other arrested journalists be released immediately, that all cases against journalists be dropped forthwith and that all obstacles to the freedom of the press and expression be lifted without hesitation.