Evrensel Daily, a Turkish daily workers’ newspaper which has been subjected to considerable harassment from the establishment since it first went to print in 1995, recently received Press Advertising Agency (BIK) decision revoking its right to receive public ads. BIK is the authority in Turkey responsible for the distribution of state advertising and which is under the tight control of the Islamist AKP government.
The suppression of Evrensel is part of the ongoing crackdown on independent media outlets that are not pro government and is meant to forbid publications writing stories about workers’ rights.
The right of Evrensel to receive public advertisements has been suspended since September 2019 and the recent move which was prompted by alleged bulk buying that distorted Evrensel’s distribution figures against which the advertising levels are set. With the latest decision, this suspended right was completely cancelled.
“This newspaper will not bow down to those who are paid to silence it. Never!” says Fatih Polat, Editor-in-Chief of Evrensel about the cancellation of the newspapers right to publish official advertisements by BIK.
The International Press Institute (IPI) and 17 press freedom, freedom of expression and human rights organisations call upon the BIK to withdraw the decision to revoke ad revenues for Evrensel.
Signatories of the call say that: “Media freedom in recent years has been deteriorating in Turkey in light of the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in 2023. We are concerned about the state of remaining independent media outlets, the repercussions it will have on the right to access information for the residents of Turkey who will need to rely on the existing media outlets to make informed decisions in the election calendar, and how this will contribute to an already-shrinking civic space in the country. Hereby we once again call upon the Press Advertising Agency (BİK) in Turkey to withdraw the decision to revoke ad revenues for Evrensel.”
Readers of the newspaper are also sharing solidarity messages under the #EvrenselSusturulamaz hashtag across the globe and we as SPOT are calling for the advertising bans on Evrensel which threaten the survival of the newspaper and the journalism in Turkey to be lifted with immediate effect.