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Turkish Journalists: Free Colleagues

Service : Politic
TEHRAN, March 14 (ICANA) - Thousands of Turkish journalists have called for the release of colleagues in prison and raising the issue of press freedom in a rally held in Istanbul.
Monday, March 14, 2011 9:58:03 AM
Turkish Journalists: Free Colleagues

The journalists and their supporters on Sunday urged the release of 68 of their colleagues currently under arrest and demanded better protection for press freedom, a Press TV correspondent reported from Istanbul.

The Sunday's demonstration was the second held in Istanbul in 10 days.

The outcry was sparked by the arrest of 8 prominent writers and journalists in connection with an alleged plot to topple the government.

The march comes just days after the European Parliament criticized Ankara for limiting press freedoms in the EU member candidate country.

Human Rights Watch also said that the arrest of journalists does raise concerns.

"The court needs to decide what the line is between critical writing, critical opinion against government policies, legitimate in a democratic society to express all those critical statements and what constitutes a coup plot," Emma Sinclair-Webb of the Human Rights Watch said.

"Undoubtedly, there are concerns about whether rights of defendants on trial are being violated," she added.

In response, Turkey's chief EU negotiator, Egemen Bagis, said no one could lecture Turkey on freedom of expression. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the report prepared by the European Parliament as biased.

Ninety-two national and local press organizations were represented at the rally along with Istanbul's Bar Association, who all called for changes to the penal code to ensure press rights are protected.

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