Turkey: 94 journalists critical of gov't denied press cards

13 January, 17:00

    (ANSAmed) - ANKARA, JANUARY 13 - Turkish government-led arbitrary practices against journalists critical of the government have entered a new phase after 94 veteran journalists - many of whom work for the Zaman, Samanyolu, Cihan, Taraf and Bugun media outlets - were denied permanent press cards, regardless of their eligibility as daily Today's Zaman reports. The Prime Ministry's Directorate General of Press and Information (BYEGM) made a highly controversial decision to block a number of journalists from acquiring permanent press cards during a meeting held last December. In spite of authorizing the issuance of press cards for 208 new applicants, the directorate declined to award cards to a number of journalists applying to extend the validity of cards already in their possession.

    Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanli, Zaman Deputy Editor-in-Chief Mehmet Kamis and Cuneyt Ozdemir, producer of the 5N 1K news program, were among those denied permanent press cards. Journalists who complete 20 years of service become eligible for permanent press cards, but Dumanli, Kamis and Ozdemir were denied permanent press cards without any reason. The list of the journalists denied these press cards will be re-examined during the next meeting of the directorate, scheduled for February or March. Turgay Olcayto, the president of Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) and member of the Press Cards Commission, criticized the denial of press cards for journalists known for their critical stance against the government, saying that he has never heard of such strange actions on the part of the directorate. (ANSAmed).

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