View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. News
May 11, 2018

Editors urge Theresa May to raise press freedom concerns with Turkish president during UK visit

By Sam Forsdick

A group representing hundreds of UK editors has sent a letter to the Prime Minister calling on her to raise the issue of press freedom with the Turkish President when he visits this weekend.

The Society of Editors claims press freedom in Turkey has been “severely curtailed” under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pictured) and described the current situation as “deeply concerning”.

Following an attempted coup in 2016, more than 180 news outlets have been shut down in Turkey and more than 250 journalists and media workers have been jailed, according to the Stockholm Center for Freedom.

Turkey is currently the biggest jailer of journalists in the world.

Addressing Theresa May in a letter, SoE director Ian Murray wrote: “The society urges you, during your dialogue with President Erdogan, to raise these concerns and to remind him that journalism is not a crime nor should it be treated as such.

“It is hoped that the Turkish authorities will take steps to immediately release all those held in prison for exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression and that independent news organisations will be given the freedom to report without fear of intimidation or persecution.”

Turkey currently ranks at 157 out of 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, composed by Reporters Without Borders.

Content from our partners
Pugpig named best media technology partner of 2024 by AOP
Cannes Lions: The world's best creativity all in one place
L'Equipe signs content syndication deal with The Content Exchange

Murray also commented on the imprisonment of Ahmet Atlan, former editor of the Taraf newspapers, and his journalist brother Mehmet.

Both men were given life sentences in February over allegations they supported US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for the failed coup against President Erdogan, though Gulen denies this.

Murray said their jailing was “deeply disturbing”, adding: “Not only have the brothers lost their jobs and their livelihoods, they now face life in prison on charges that are dubious and appear to be seriously lacking in evidence.”

Erdogan is scheduled for a three day visit to the UK from this Sunday.

Theresa May’s spokesperson said: “The visit is an opportunity for the UK and Turkey to demonstrate our close bilateral relationship and to have important discussions about issues of shared interest.”

Picture: Reuters/Osman Orsal

Email to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network