Media Defence welcomes the recent decisions of Turkey’s Constitutional Court, finding the detention of journalists Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay (who have been in prison for over a year) to be unlawful. The Constitutional Court’s decisions should be important steps forward, leading to the release of the journalists, but the lower courts have refused to implement the judgments, claiming that the Constitutional Court has exceeded its authority.
“This non-implementation of the Constitutional Court judgments by the lower courts, despite the principles of Constitutional law, is a worrying sign, indicating that there is no effective remedy in Turkey to protect journalists from unlawful use of criminal investigations and detentions because of their critical reporting.” said Ayse Bingol, Legal Officer of Media Defence. “It also raises concerns around the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, since the lower courts’ refusal to implement came shortly after several critical statements were made by high-level government officials against the Constitutional Court.” she added.
In an attempt to resolve this ‘constitutional crisis’, lawyers for the journalists have urged the Constitutional Court to make a further ruling on implementation to ensure the immediate release of the journalists. Whether or not the Court will accede to this request and whether the lower courts would then comply with the Constitutional Court’s orders remain unclear.
Due to the rapid decline in press freedom in Turkey, Media Defence has been active in the country, ensuring its legal support is accessible to journalists, media outlets and bloggers under threat for their reporting. We are currently supporting a number of cases before the domestic courts and have joined a number of third party interventions currently pending before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) concerning the cases of detained journalists in Turkey.
Media Defence urges the state authorities to act in accordance with Turkey’s obligations under international human rights law to respect and protect rights and freedoms of journalists; to comply with the Constitutional Court judgments; and to immediately release the detained journalists. The detained journalists’ cases have been pending before the ECtHR for over a year. We hope that this event will lead the Court to determine the cases and affirm the fact that the detained journalists are entitled to their right to freedom of expression.
Together with Cartooning for Peace, we are pleased to announce the launch of information sessions designed specifically for cartoonists, as part of the project “Support to the Legal Protection of press cartoonists” administrated by the Global Media Defence Fund (GMDF) managed by UNESCO. The main objective of the project is to improve the legal protection […]
Media Defence abre convocatoria para la participación de abogados y abogadas que trabajan en México, América Central y el Caribe en su clínica de litigio en libertad de expresión. Las personas escogidas recibirán materiales de aprendizaje en línea y después formarán parte de una mesa de trabajo de cuatro días. Quienes participen formarán parte activa […]
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) has published an Opinion holding Cameroon responsible for unlawfully detaining prominent investigative journalist and blogger Tsi Conrad. On 8 December 2016, Mr Conrad was arrested in Bamenda while filming a protest held by the ruling political party, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM). He was arrested at […]