The International Press Institute (IPI) called today on Turkish authorities to drop charges against journalist Melis Alphan ahead of the second hearing on May 21 in her trial on terrorism-related charges. Alphan, previously worked as a columnist for newspapers Hürriyet and Milliyet and the news site Artı Gerçek and who writes on women, gender and environmental issues, is accused of “spreading terrorist propaganda via the press” over a photo that she posted on social media of the 2015 Newroz celebrations in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır. She faces up to 7.5 years in prison.
“This is an outrageous example of targeting journalists who reported on, supported and shared previous official activities of the government during peace talks with Kurdish representatives to solve a long-term national conflict”, IPI Turkey Programme Coordinator Renan Akyavas said. “Alphan is being prosecuted just for sharing a photo taken from an officially sanctioned event during an official process which the government now aims to forget, act as if it never happened and to deem everything related to it illegal.”