Wave of Arrests Follows Lowballing
A special report issued by New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Dec. 8, 2011, was entitled “The Increase in Journalists Imprisoned Worldwide, Worst in Iran.”
About This Article
The number of journalists imprisoned in Turkey went from eight in 2011 to at least 61 in 2012, a faster rise than any other country. Kadri Gursel asks how the earlier number could have been so small.Publisher: Milliyet (Turkey)
CPJ From Flawless Betrayal to Flawed Repentance
Author: Kadri Gursel
First Published: October 25, 2012
Posted on: October 25 2012
Translated by: Timur Goksel
Categories : Turkey
The CPJ, declaring Iran “world champion in arresting journalists,” reported 42 journalists were imprisoned in that country. The same report said that as of August 2011 there were eight Turkish journalists imprisoned because of their professional work.
Many journalism organizations then denounced the CPJ for not recognizing more 60 journalists in Turkish prisons as journalists. It was a justified reaction. The most influential and the best-known organization for the protection of journalists was in a way backing our rulers who were saying: “They are terrorists, not journalists.”
This was a flawless betrayal.
The figure eight used by CPJ could have been interpreted as green light to arrest more journalists. And, only 16 days after the CPJ report, 29 more journalists were collectively thrown into jail on charges of being members of the “KCK [Kurdish Urban Militancy] terror organization.”
At one point, the number of journalists in Turkish prisons exceeded 100.
A few days ago, the CPJ issued a special report: “Crisis of the Freedom of Press in Turkey.” In this report, the CPJ changed the total in Turkish prison from eight to 61. In fact, as of Aug. 1, 2012, the CPJ acknowledged 76 journalists in prison.
The CPJ is sure 61 of them have been detained because of their professional activities, and their investigations continue to determine whether the remaining 15 were detained for journalistic activities or on some other charges.
Bravo, CPJ. You finally corrected your disgraceful mistake that played a part in the agony of journalists in this country and on the imposition of further restrictions on freedom of the press.
You took the world championship title in imprisoning journalists from Iran and gave it to Turkey. No objections to that. We are actually pleased that the truth finally emerged, albeit belatedly. But you don’t deserve any praise for finally acknowledging something that we knew all along.
In your latest report, while saying that the number of journalists in prison in Turkey is far ahead of other repressive countries including Iran, you recall that there are 42 journalists in Iranian jails. But wait, wasn’t it the CPJ that cited the figure of “eight” for journalists detained in Turkey in that former report?
In your new report you don’t even mention that mistake.
So, how did eight become 61? Does it mean that 53 more journalists were detained after December 2011 in addition to that eight? Or is it because you neglected to count them as journalists at the time? If so, why?
Don’t you think the CPJ should come out and say, “We are now aware we were wrong or somebody misled us?” Don’t you owe us an explanation?
Your betrayal was flawless but your repentance is incomplete.
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