Censorship in Turkey Increased After Failed Coup

In the midst of the attempted coup in Turkey earlier this month, President Erdogan used a CNN affiliate station to address the nation and help organize opposition. In the past, Mr. Erdogan has repeatedly used tax penalties to punish and control that same station. Proponents of press freedom had hoped that the media's role in saving Mr. Erdogan's rule would convince him to lighten restrictions on journalists, but so far his actions have indicated that he instead intends to increase censorship. By declaring a three-month state of emergency, Mr. Erdogan has given himself the power to make new laws without the legislature or judicial review and has released himself from the legal obligations of the national constitution as well as international law, including those related to freedom of speech. As the Columbia Journalism Review puts it, the media now "operates at his mercy." In the days immediately following the coup, journalists were not subjected to the same "cleansing" as the army, the judiciary, and the academy, but the CJR points out that this may be because Mr. Erdogan's government has been "cleansing" the media throughout his rule. For example, just last May, the government raided the offices of Zaman, the most widely read national daily newspaper in Turkey, installed new owners, and threated Zaman journalists with legal action and death.


Image Credit: Gokhan Tan for Getty Images, from http://time.com/4409333/turkey-clamps-down-after-attempted-coup/

Date Published: 

Friday, July 22, 2016