24 January 2020 10:02

Evrensel reporters’ press cards have been canceled

Press cards of Evrensel newspaper employees have been canceled. When journalists looked at the "Press card interrogation" section, they saw the phrase "canceled" by the side of their cards.

Photograph: Evrensel

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Evrensel journalists’ press cards are canceled. Press cards, called “expected” to journalists who have applied for renewal for a long time after the Press Cards Commission was linked to the Presidency Communications Presidency, have now been canceled.

Permanent press card owners Sultan Özer and Fevzi Argun’s cards were also canceled. Özer served in the Press Card Commission on behalf of the Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS). The press card of Evrensel Newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief Fatih Polat was also canceled.

TGS CHAIRMAN'S CARD CANCELED

Chairman of Journalists' Union of Turkey, who is also Deputy Director of the Evrensel Newspaper, Gökhan Durmuş’s press card is among those canceled. It is quite surprising to cancel the press card of chairman of Journalists’ Union without showing any reason.

ACTUAL NUMBER IS UNKNOWN YET

When they looked at the "Press Card Inquiry" section of the Presidency Communications Presidency, journalists who saw the statement "canceled" by the side of their cards called the Presidential Communication Presidency Press Support Line. However, the reasons for the cancellation of the cards could not be learned since there was no response to calls throughout the day.

While it is learned that many other journalists who have applied for the renewal of the press card and have been waiting for a long time have been canceled, the number of journalists whose press cards have been canceled is still unknown.

The absence of a press card indicates a very troublesome situation for journalists. Journalists without a press card are getting harder to enter the Parliament. Journalists cannot follow the cases because there is a condition of "having a yellow press card" to follow many cases. Having a press card in protests provides convenience.

WHAT IS THE PRESS CARD COMMISSION?

Yellow Press Cards have been on the agenda of journalists for a long time. Press cards were issued by the Prime Ministry Directorate General of Press and Information. However, with the transition to the Presidential Government System, when the Prime Ministry closed, this institution turned into the Presidency of Communication Presidency. The press card commission was not convened for 13 months despite the transition to the new management system on June 24, 2018. Their meeting in July 2019 was quite secret. The details of the meeting and who was on the commission were not shared with the public.

Utku Çakırözer, CHP Member of Parliament, stated that there were nine people in the commission. Journalists Union of Turkey and the Journalists Association of Turkey are not included in the commission. Two members of the commission are from the Presidency. Zahid Sobac, Vice President of Communications, who was given by the Presidency, is one of the researchers of SETA, known for his report filing journalists. Three of the rest are from ATV, Star and Daily Sabah, and two from Anadolu Agency (AA) and TRT. Names from AA and Daily Sabah are on the commission as representatives from the Media Business and Media Association, which is the "press-professional organization.” These newspapers, agencies, and TV channels are known as their close link with the government. TRT is the formal state TV channel.

Professional organizations state that press cards are given by independent professional organizations around the world; Turkey also should be so.

EVRENSEL IS ON THE ‘EMBARGO LIST’

On August 22, 2019, our Ankara correspondent Birkan Bulut included the "embargo list" in his report. In the Presidency Communication Presidency, an 'embargo list' was prepared in order not to give press cards to the employees of some newspapers, and televisions were claimed. Speaking to Evrensel, an official said that the "unapproved" list, including Evrensel, was checked before the procedures for press card applications. The list includes the Yeni Asya newspaper and Dünya TV, Yaşam TV channels, which have been closed. Unions, associations, societies are also included in the same list. Our phone calls were not answered by the Presidency of Communication Presidency, which we called to ask the allegations. 

PRESS ADVERTISEMENT AGENCY CUT ADS OFF FOR EVRENSEL

Press Advertisement Agency (BİK) refused our appeal against the decision to stop allocating public sector advertisements in our newspaper. The reasons put forward for the decision were scandalous. One reader buying two papers was given as a reason for the decision.

BİK, whics is affiliated to the Presidency, is responsible for allocating public sector advertisements to newspapers. Most newspapers, especially ones like ours that are not owned by big corporations, depend on income raised via BİK advertisements.

IPI CONDEMNED CANCELLATION OF PRESS CARDS

The International Press Institute (IPI) condemned Turkey’s cancellation of the press cards of over a dozen journalists and staff members of Evrensel.

“This is another brazen attack on independent journalism and critical media. Evrensel is targeted for being one of the last remaining newspapers committed to independent journalism in Turkey. We call on the Turkish authorities to immediately reverse these decisions. IPI views the development as part of the government’s ongoing targeting of Evrensel for its critical journalism and calls on the authorities to immediately revoke the decision and provide an immediate explanation”, IPI Turkey Programme Manager Oliver Money-Kyrle said.

IPI relaunched its I Subscribe campaign for Evrensel in December 2018 to show solidarity in its fight against financial pressure and provide a platform to increase Evrensel’s international subscribers. (EVRENSEL DAILY)

Reklam