Time to break out of legislative straitjacket that is stifling media freedom

first_imgNews December 1, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Time to break out of legislative straitjacket that is stifling media freedom TurkeyEurope – Central Asia Receive email alerts Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law April 2, 2021 Find out more April 28, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders is alarmed by the frenetic rate of prosecutions of news media and imprisonment of journalists under an arsenal of repressive media laws that have imposed a regime of censorship in Turkey and have had a disastrous impact of press freedom and free expression.Anyone making a public statement or writing a newspaper article that directly or indirectly raises subjects that are off-limits or untouchable, such as the Kurdish and Armenian minorities, the armed forces, national dignity or the Turkish republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, is liable to be prosecuted.These violations of freedom of expression are frequently criticised by the European Commission responsible for examining Turkey’s progress as a candidate for European Union membership, most recently in a bi-annual report issued on 9 November.The Turkish government recently announced its intention to amend certain aspects of the criminal code affecting media freedom. But the proposed amendments would affect just two articles punishing “complicity in violating the confidentiality of a judicial investigation” (article 285) and “trying to influence the course of a fair trial” (article 288). They would be just the latest in a long series of cosmetic changes designed to simulate compliance with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights. They would change Turkey’s media legislation no more than superficially, and would leave the most repressive articles intact. Reporters Without Borders has identified more than 25 articles in the criminal code that directly restrict press freedom and free expression.Two journalists are currently being prosecuted for “denigrating the Turkish people” under article 301 of the criminal code. Rasim Ozan Kütahyali, a columnist with the liberal daily Taraf, is facing a possible two-year jail sentence for criticising the army’s decision to name a regiment in the eastern province of Van after Mustafa Muglali, a general who was convicted of shooting 33 Kurdish villagers in 1943. His criticism is deemed to have “humiliated the army” and by extension the Turkish people. The other journalist is Temel Demirer, who is facing the same possible sentence for saying that the newspaper editor Hrant Dink’s murder in January 2007 was not due to the fact that he was Armenian but to his recognition of the reality of the Armenian genocide.The most problematic piece of legislation continues to be the anti-terrorism law of 1991, known as Law 3713, and its 2006 amendments. More than 13 reporters, newspaper editors and publishers have been prosecuted on a charge of “propaganda in support of a terrorist organization” under article 7-2 of this law. Five were acquitted by an Istanbul court on 23 November but the others continue to face a possible sentence of seven and a half years in prison because prosecutors systematically apply the vague concept of “propaganda” to any allusion to the Kurdish issue. Many publications, including Azadiya Welat, Rojev, Günlük and Devrimci Demokrasi, are often suspended under the same article.Four journalists – Vedat Kursun, Ozan Kilinç, Gurbet Cakar and Bedri Adanir – are currently detained under article 6-2 of the anti-terrorism law for publishing or quoting statements by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). According to article 6-2, “any dissemination of statements and communiqués by terrorist organizations” is punishable by up to three years in prison.Article 8-b of this law magnifies its impact by establishing a “chain of responsibility” under which not only the reporter who writes an article but also his editor, the editor in chief, the publisher and the newspaper’s owner can all be prosecuted and sentenced to pay heavy fines. This dangerous provision is often used and allows the authorities to censor and muzzle an entire publication.There is also the law that makes any criticism of Atatürk publishable by up to four and a half years in prison and Law 5651, which is used to censor the Internet by providing for disproportionate sanctions for websites with content that is deemed unlawful.The appalling state of press freedom is due not only to the extraordinarily repressive nature of these laws but also to the readiness of judges to exploit them to the hilt and often in an utterly abusive manner. Conversely, impunity continues to be the rule for crimes of violence against journalists. The trial of the alleged murderers of Hrant Dink, the editor of the weekly Agos, has been marked by delays and obstacles that testify to the lack of political will to solve this case. The European Court of Human Rights condemned the Turkish state on 14 September for its failure to protect Dink despite being aware of the plots on his life. Dink was gunned down outside his newspaper on 19 January 2007.The legislative straitjacket makes journalism impossible. There is therefore an urgent need for the repressive articles in the criminal code and the anti-terrorism law to be overhauled or scrapped altogether in order to create a real climate of freedom of expression, information and debate on all issues.Reporters Without Borders again calls on the Turkish authorities to tackle these badly needed reforms. It also urges the European Union to press Turkey to bring itself into line with international standards on media freedom and free speech. Turkey was ranked 138th out of 178 countries in the 2010 press freedom index that Reporters Without Borders released on 20 October. to go further Follow the news on Turkey Help by sharing this information center_img News Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor TurkeyEurope – Central Asia Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit RSF_en News News Organisation April 2, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

After Hurricane Michael’s Landfall …

first_img Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / After Hurricane Michael’s Landfall … The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News October 12, 2018 2,745 Views The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Hurricane Michael, which made landfall on the Florida coast on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm has left a trail of destruction in its wake. The preliminary numbers from CoreLogic estimate that the total damage to insured residential and commercial property due to wind and storm surge after the hurricane’s landfall stood at $3 billion to $5 billion. Around $0.5 billion to $1 billion is estimated from losses due to storm surge and includes properties covered by the National Flood Insurance Program.With the estimated damage to properties rising, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on Friday that it would speed federal disaster assistance to Florida by providing support to homeowners and low-income renters affected by the hurricane. In particular, HUD said that it was offering foreclosure relief and other assistance to families living in Bay, Franklin, Gulf, Taylor, and Wakulla counties, where a major disaster declaration was issued by President Trump recently.HUD plans to provide immediate foreclosure relief for homeowners with an FHA loan facing foreclosure due to the disaster in these counties. Additionally, HUD said that its Section 203(h) program provided FHA insurance to disaster victims whose homes were destroyed or damaged to such an extent that reconstruction or replacement is necessary “and are facing the daunting task of rebuilding or buying another home. Borrowers from participating FHA-approved lenders are eligible for 100 percent financing, including closing costs.”For homeowners who have lost their homes, HUD said that its Section 203(k) loan program enabled such homeowners to finance the purchase or refinance of a house along with its repair through a single mortgage. “It also allows homeowners who have damaged houses to finance the rehabilitation of their existing single-family home,” HUD said.While Florida was the hardest hit with $2.5 billion to $4 billion estimate in wind and storm surge damage, the destruction in Alabama and Georgia was estimated at $0.5 billion to $1 billion.Read more about the assistance being offered by other agencies:The Mortgage Industry Braces Itself for Hurricane Michael Previous: Q3 Mortgage Revenue Drivers Next: Former Amazon Economist Joins Redfin Team Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily After Hurricane Michael’s Landfall … Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days agocenter_img Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Share Save Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and copy-editor, and a reporter for DS News. She is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her masters degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha, also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas. About Author: Radhika Ojha Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Related Articles  Print This Post Assistance CoreLogic Disaster Foreclosure HUD Hurricane mortgage relief 2018-10-12 Radhika Ojha Tagged with: Assistance CoreLogic Disaster Foreclosure HUD Hurricane mortgage relief Subscribelast_img read more