Journalists accosted by police while covering a fire in Turkey’s Sivas province

Journalist Hüsnü Ümit Avcı, a correspondent for the Doğan News Agency (DHA), had an altercation with a police officer on Friday who tried to prevent him from covering a fire in Turkey’s Sivas province, the Duvar news website reported.

Arife Defne Arslan, another reporter for DHA, was also hit in the arm during the clash with police when she tried to prevent the police from hitting her colleague. A video recorded during the incident shows that the police officer tried to smash the reporters’ cameras and that he had some kind of altercation with Avcı.

Paramedics who were already present at the scene provided first aid to Avcı, who ended up on the ground after the altercation. After the incident, the two reporters went to the hospital obtain documentation that they had been assaulted and filed a complaint against the police officer who attacked them.

The governor of Sivas, Yılmaz Şimşek, announced that an investigation had been launched into the police officer.

A report by the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) revealed that in Turkey the pressure on journalists is growing by the day. According to the report, 115 journalists were subjected to physical violence in Turkey last year, and three out of every five journalists have received threats during their career.

Turkey is ranked 153rd among 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in April.

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