Turkey’s Education Ministry recalls textbooks due to page on press freedom

The Turkish Education Ministry has issued a decision to immediately recall seventh grade textbooks due to a page on press censorship by the government, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Thursday.

According to the report, the ministry distributed thousands of books to seventh grade students. The book had a chapter on press freedom that discussed the significance of the media and briefly mentioned the situation of the media in Turkey.

The ministry ordered the books to be immediately collected and kept in warehouses. The chapter on media freedom argued that increased pressure on the media led to corruption and financial crisis in countries.

“The ruling party in a country is disturbed by media reports of corruption about their government. Benefiting from their power to change the constitution, they add articles to constitution restricting media freedom and censor news that is published without their permission.”

The chapter asked students questions about the negative impacts of restricted media freedom in the country and to write their opinion about it.

The ministry said new books would be distributed in return for the recalled texts.

Turkey has drifted into an oppressive regime particularly after massive corruption investigations in December 2013 and a botched coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 284 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of September 18, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 259 are arrested pending trial, only 25 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 135 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. Turkey’s Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD) recently announced that more than 900 press cards were cancelled.

 

Turkey has been undertaking a massive purge since the coup attempt that is not limited to journalists. Thousands of academics, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, teachers and doctors are behind bars on charges of coup involvement. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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