Within eight days of the devastating earthquakes, four journalists covering disaster-relief efforts were detained, nine were openly prevented from working and eight were targets of physical or verbal attacks
Journalists covering rescue and disaster relief efforts in the ten provinces affected by two powerful earthquakes that occurred in Kahramanmaraş on 6 February continued to face obstacles, increasingly so after declaration of a State of Emergency in these provinces on 8 February.
Diyarbakır-based journalist Vecdi Erbay, in an article published on 10 February, described scores of journalists being prevented from filming rescue efforts by police officers on the grounds that they didn’t have press cards issued by the Presidency’s Communications Directorate.
He also stated that neither officials from the local Press and Information Directorate nor another higher official from the capital was able to convince law enforcement from quitting this unlawful practice.
Another journalist who was not allowed to film was Hatice Kamer, who tweeted that she had been driven away by police from a location of a collapsed building in Diyarbakır, despite having a press card. This time, she said, the police asked her for being on the list of accredited press for covering the earthquakes.
Obstructions, detentions, attacks
According to data shared by journalists online or during broadcasts, between 6 and 13 February, four journalists were detained by police -- and all were released albeit pending trial. During this time, at leaset nine journalists were stopped from filming by police officers and eight were attacked by police officers, security guards or angry groups in the disaster area. Two journalists are now facing investigations for tweeting criticism about disaster relief efforts.
The journalists who have publicly spoken of obstructions were Sıddık Eren; Sertaç Kayar; Zübeyde Sarı; Arzu Efeoğlu; İrem Afşin; Kazım Kızıl; Fırat Fıstık; Mir Ali Koçer and Hatice Kamer.
Journalists Mahmut Altıntaş, Sema Çağlak, Mehmet Güleş and Volkan Pekal were detained by police officers while interviewing survivors.
While following the news in the region, journalists Rabia Çetin; Ahmet Kanbal; Yağmur Kaya; Anıl Olcan; Şirin Payzın; Sevgi Şahin; Ömür Dikme and Ferit Demir were targets of physical or verbal attack.
Investigations have been launched against journalists Enver Aysever and Merdan Yanardağ on charges of “inciting the public to hatred and hostility” over tweets or statements critical of the government's disaster relief response.
Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) haber alma hakkı, ifade özgürlüğü ve basın özgürlüğü alanlarında faaliyet yürüten bir sivil toplum kuruluşudur. Derneğimiz başta gazeteciler olmak üzere mesleki faaliyetleri sebebiyle yargılanan kişilere hukuki destek vermektedir.