The International Press Institute (IPI) called today on Turkish authorities to dismiss all charges against local journalist Ozan Kaplanoğlu who was sentenced earlier this month to almost two years in prison for reporting on a press release.
Kaplanoğlu, the editor-in-chief of the online news site BursaMuhalif.com and a board member of the Bursa Association of Contemporary Journalists, was accused of “spreading terrorist propaganda” for reporting on a press statement in January 2018 launched at the Labor Party (EMEP) building in the western Turkish province of Bursa. The launch saw trade unions, civil society groups and political parties read out a common statement against the Turkish military operation in Afrin, Syria.
“The fact that journalists who carry out journalistic activities are being sentenced to prison is nothing but the targeting of journalism itself”, IPI Turkey Programme Coordinator Renan Akyavas said. “Local journalists in Turkey are especially vulnerable to intimidation by the authorities as they lack legal resources to defend their rights. Kaplanoğlu’s sentence must be overturned on appeal to protect freedom of the press.”