Public letter from international press organisations: Lift embargo on newspapers, stop penalties

20 international and local media freedom groups sent a joint public letter to the General Director of Turkey’s Public Advertising Agency, Rıdvan Duran, regarding the suspension of public ad bans imposed on the newspapers.

The International Press Institute (IPI) and 19 other international press freedom and freedom of expression groups sent a joint public letter to the General Director of Turkey’s Public Advertising Agency, which is responsible for the fair distribution of public ads in national and local newspapers. Public ads provide considerable ad revenue for newspapers and are therefore essential for the survival of their print editions.

In the letter, press freedom groups underlined the increasing trend of the number of public ad bans on newspapers under “press ethics violations” issued by BIK in 2020 compared to last year. The letter stated that in the first five months of 2020 alone, BIK issued bans on 39 national and local newspapers totaling 316 days. By comparison, between January and September 2019, BIK issued bans on only six newspapers totaling nine days. The groups raised concerns about the justification for this increase in ad bans and called on BIK to make reports on the distribution of public money and the statistics of advertising bans on newspapers public.

An IPI-led delegation previously met with BIK General Director Duran on February 6, calling for an end to the indefinite ad bans on independent newspapers. Several independent newspapers have recently been hit with bans, including Evrensel, BirGün, Cumhuriyet and Sözcü.

The letter was signed by Articolo 21, Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Danish PEN,
English PEN, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), erman PEN, Index on Censorship, International Press Institute (IPI), Norwegian PEN, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa, PEN America, PEN Canada, PEN International, PEN Turkey, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), Swedish PEN, WAN-IFRA.

You can read the full letter here.


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