Journalist receives threats for posting video of children taken to religious event in southeast Turkey

Journalist Bilal Güldem (MA)

Bilal Güldem, an editor for the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya news agency (MA), has received numerous threats on social media after posting a video of a group of children being taken to a religious event in the southeastern province of Batman, the Evrensel newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The video showed a large group of elementary school children on the street, allegedly headed to a prayer event.

The journalist has filed criminal complaints against 18 social media users, some of whom are members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ultraconservative ally, the Free Cause Party (HÜDA PAR). Several social media accounts revealed Güldem’s home address.

One of those who targeted the journalist was Bilal Çakır, a lawyer registered with the Diyarbakır Bar Association.

Press freedom groups such as Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have condemned the threats against Güldem.

In addition to abusive prosecutions and imprisonment, journalists in Turkey frequently face threats and physical assaults. In RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index, Turkey is ranked 165th among 180 countries.

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