Press Freedom

Decision of non-prosecution for Demirören’s criminal complaint against journalist Canan Kaya


In the investigation against journalist Kaya on the grounds of a criminal complaint filed by the Demirören Media Group for an article, the prosecutor took a decision of non-prosecution because the legal elements of the crime of unfair competition were not fulfilled. 

In the investigation opened against the Medya Koridoru’s proprietor and editor-in-chief Canan Kaya on the grounds of her news titled “End of the road for Demirören: What did Ziraat Bank ‘trustees’ want?”, which was published on November 26, 2021, it was claimed that “the commercial reputation of the company has been damaged and the offense of unfair competition has been committed through untrue, defamatory statements.”

Journalist Kaya, whose statement was taken during the investigation, did not accept the accusations. She explained that she is the person in charge and the owner of the website in question, that it is a news website, that the news titled “End of the road for Demirören,” which was the subject of the complaint, was conveyed by a source who works in the respective media outlet and who had participated in the meeting mentioned in the article, that the incident was a matter of public debate, and that as a journalist, it was her duty to share the first-hand information she had obtained from the source. 

In the decision of non-prosecution taken by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor after their examination, it is stated: “Although a criminal complaint was filed for an article on the grounds of Defying the Law No. 6102 [the Turkish Commercial Code], in the news and articles published on the website that is the subject of the complaint no comment was found that directly constitutes a crime and amounts to a violation of the provisions on unfair competition; as the defendant also said in her statement, the article consisted of current news, criticisms and comments at that time; in this way, the news subject to the complaint remained within the limits of expression of an opinion, provision of information and criticism in the scope of ‘Freedom of thought and opinion’ regulated in Article 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, the ‘Freedom of expression and dissemination of thought’ regulated in Article 26, ‘Freedom of the press’ regulated in Article 28 of the Constitution, and Article 3 of the Press Law No. 5187; even if there was an ideational connection between the form of expression and the subject, if the criticism was supported by an objective explanation and if value judgments were expressed in a harsh and striking manner, it is not possible to consider them unlawful within the scope of the mentioned freedoms.”

In the decision, in which it was also indicated that there was no evidence in the file proving that the crime of defamation was committed, it was concluded that there was no need to prosecute Kaya as the legal elements of the crime of unfair competition were not present. 

A SLAPP filed against journalist Kaya by Demirören because of the same news article continues at Istanbul 18th Civil Court of First Instance. 

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