SURREY – Living in Canada and having all privileges of freedom especially when it comes to freedom of press and word doesn’t seems like anything unusual, we’re executing them every day in every possible way, through blogs, tweets, Facebook, print or electronic media, but that’s not a case in other parts of the world. Recently OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe) Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, visited Turkey to meet Foreign Affair Minister Ahmet Davutoglu discussing media freedom situation in Turkey, in particular imprisonment of journalists and internet restrictions. Almost in a same time Mrs. Mijatovic released her condemnation on behalf of OSCE by recent killing of journalist Khadzimurad Kamalov in Russia’s southern republic of Daghestan. As many others including well known journalist and Putin critic Anna Politkovskaya, Kamalov, was shot dead near the newspaper’s editorial offices in Makhachkala. It seems that while one nation is leading fight against journalists through “lighter” and “democratic” options, other is using good old procedures used by previous leaders and regimes, just to mention Stalin, ending all problems with one or two bullets in the head.
LONGEST SENTENCE TO JOURNALIST 166 YEARS
Previously this year in her letter to Minister Davutoglu, Mijatovic, noted most journalists imprisoned in Turkey are sentenced under two articles of Turkey’s antiterrorism law, and an article of the country’s criminal code. The articles in question relate to assisting, establishing or commanding armed terror organizations or creating propaganda for such groups. If we go in further analysis of current freedom of media situation other reason for “fight” against journalists is critical expression on actions of incumbent Erdogan government. Letter also included informations from OSCE’s study which shows that journalists in Turkey can be imprisoned up to three years before their trails begin, some of them are faced with multiply charges and can be faced with more than 150 trials at one moment. According to same study longest prison sentence a Turkish journalist received is 166 years, while longest sentence sought by prosecutors has been 3,000 years. In a same time when Turkey is trying to present herself as the country of democracy and human rights most of the imprisoned journalists are placed in high-security prisons alongside the most dangerous criminals. Also it’s important to be mentioned some cases are classified by Turkish authorities as “secret” what prevents defence lawyers to access trial documents.
“We discussed media freedom challenges in Turkey that require immediate attention, more specifically imprisonment of journalist and internet restrictions. I asked the Government to improve the situation of imprisoned journalists, for example though alternatives to pre-trial detention, such as release on bail”, said Mijatovic during recent visit.
OSCE representative welcomed recent initiatives by the Justice Ministry to amend the Criminal Code, the Anti-Terror Law, the Internet Law and the Broadcasting Law in order to bring the national legislation in line with International and OSCE commitments of Turkey. It seems while Turkey is attacking Syria for crimes against humanity asking them to stop killing innocent people in their own backyard innocent people are imprisoned just because they’re expressing their views on government and government business.
Khadzimurad Kamalov was the Founder of the independent Chernikov weekly, published from his editorial office in Russian southern republic of Daghestan. According to informations presented by OSCE and several other human rights organizations Kamalov and several other media professional in Daghestan were threatened with death by the authors of anonymous leaflets that circulated in Makhachkala. Local law enforcement agencies have opened a murder investigation and police have launched search for the killer and possible accomplices. If they repeat old good practise his killers would never ever face the justice, or Putin’s regime will put on trial some “killers” which were in moment of assassination miles and miles away, probably people who never ever heard Kamalov name or had any knowledge regarding his writing or stands on government business.
“Daghestan and Northern Caucus are known to be among the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. I am confident that the Russian authorities will not only investigate Kamalov’s killing and bring the perpetuators to justice but they will also take pre-emptive measures to ensure that journalist working in the region can carry out their professional duties safely and without fear”, said Dunja Mijatovic in her press release following Kamalov’s murder.