Turkish gov’t cancels journalist Zaman’s press card over her political views

The Turkish General Directorate of Press, Publishing and Information (BYEGM) has decided that well-known journalist Amberin Zaman is a threat to national security and cancelled her press card based on her political views, the left-leaning Evrensel newspaper reported.

Zaman’s press card was cancelled due to “writing pieces against Turkey at every opportunity in a variety of places overseas,” the BYEGM said, and her journalism “was a cause of the conveying of hatred and enmity and polarisation among the people,” a crime under Turkey’s hate crimes laws.

The BYEGM’s statement cited Zaman as saying on social media that the Syrian Kurds were the most effective force against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant  (ISIL) in Syria, which “openly displayed her sympathies for a terrorist organisation.”

“Zaman carried out propaganda against Turkey through her false analysis,” and her press card had been cancelled on national security grounds, the BYEGM said.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 248 journalists and media workers were in jail as of March 9, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 193 were under arrest pending trial while only 55 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 139 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

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