OSCE focus on media freedom in Turkey

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 19-12-2011

The challenges to media freedom and revisions in the criminal law in Turkey have been under the spotlight following a meeting between Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Dunja Mijatović of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
"We discussed media freedom challenges in Turkey that require immediate attention, more specifically imprisonment of journalists and Internet restrictions," said Mijatović, after her first official visit on 16 December. "I asked the Government to improve the situation of imprisoned journalists, for example, through alternatives to pre-trial detention, such as release on bail."
"I also asked for urgent reform of the criminal law. Currently it can be used to restrict media freedom and even imprison journalists expressing critical views, as well as block websites,” said Mijatović. The OSCE has offered Turkey its full assistance towards such reform.
The meeting was held in what Mijatović called “good spirit” and she was assured that the Turkish Government’s philosophy is to promote media freedom and eliminate restrictions.
The Justice Ministry has made recent moves to amend the Criminal Code, the Anti-Terror Law, the Internet Law and the Broadcasting Law in order to bring the national legislation in line with international and OSCE commitments of Turkey. Mijatović expressed hope that these plans to adopt and implement reform will be approved by the Government.