British lawmakers urge May gov’t to act for oppressed journalists in Turkey

As the British Prime Minister Theresa May and her government have not hesitated to visit, to negotiate, to give support and to give a pose with anti-democratic and oppressive Erdoğan regime of Turkey, British lawmakers have launched an initiative to express their concerns on the jailed journalists and closed media outlets in Turkey.

A parliamentary motion, which was prepared by Stewart McDonald, a member of British Parliament and has been supported by his several colleagues such as Calum Kerr, Deidre Brock, Chris Law, George Kerevan and Patricia Gibson, urges the British Government to raise press freedom violations and oppression against the journalists at the highest possible level with the Turkish authorities; and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of jailed journalists.

The motion, which has immidiately gained the support of 28 members of the British Parliament, has stated that “That this House is concerned at reports of state censorship, in particular the firing, detention and wiretapping of journalists working for newspapers, websites and broadcasters in Turkey; notes that under the state of emergency and in the run-up to the April constitutional referendum in Turkey, the authorities have been carrying out an unprecedented crackdown on freedom of expression and human rights more broadly.”

Expressing their further concern in their motion, the British lawmakers continued to say that “Since the state of emergency was proclaimed, over 100 journalists have been detained without trial, making Turkey the world’s biggest jailer of journalists while 149 media outlets have also been closed; further notes that Turkey is ranked 151st out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index 2016.”

The lawmakers have concluded the motion by urging the British Government to raise these issues at the highest possible level with the Turkish authorities and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of jailed journalists in Turkey

A detailed report issued by new advocacy group the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) last week said that 191 journalists are in jail, 92 are wanted and 839 have been charged in Turkey.

SCF has documented the individual cases of 191 journalists who are either convicted and serving time in prison or jailed in pre-trial detention. According to the Swedish-based center, most of the journalists have not even seen an indictment against them. The report stated that 92 journalists are wanted for arrest but remain at large either in Turkey or abroad.

In a press release on Jan. 26, 2017, the center said that almost 300 journalists in Turkey, a member state of the Council of Europe and a candidate country for European Union membership, are languishing behind bars or facing outstanding arrest warrants.

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