The IPI global network of journalists, editors, and publishers is concerned by reports of journalists being subjected to brute force and detention while covering the Pride march in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square on June 26. We condemn the obstruction of journalistic work conducted in the public interest and call on authorities to meet their obligations to protect freedom of the press.
This year’s Pride march in the centre of Istanbul was met with police brutality which culminated in the detention of more than 200 people including Agence France-Presse’s (AFP) chief photographer, Bülent Kılıç. According to reports, police authorities did not allow lawyers to communicate with the detained individuals. Kılıç was later released.
These events bear striking resemblance to last year’s Pride march in Istanbul when the same AFP journalist, Kılıç, was violently detained while covering the peaceful demonstration. The latter incident had triggered the nationwide ‘#NefesAlamıyoruz’ (‘#WeCannotBreathe’) campaign spearheaded by local journalism organizations.
Alongside the detention of Kılıç, several reporters covering the demonstration received light injuries after being assaulted by riot police. Dokuz8 News correspondent Fatoş Erdoğan told IPI that journalists were physically removed from the area as the riot police attempted to prevent media coverage of the event.
“Despite the suspension of a police directive banning journalists from recording public demonstrations, we see that journalists in Turkey continue to be forcibly prevented from covering public events. Journalists must be allowed to safely cover protests and other events of public interest”, IPI Programme Coordinator Renan Akyavaş said.
IPI calls on the Turkish authorities to end the unlawful detention of journalists and to protect freedom of the press.