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December 16, 2011
OSCE media freedom representative calls for urgent measures to improve media freedom situation in Turkey
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Dunja Mijatović in discussion with Ahmet Davutoğlu

ANKARA, 15 December 2011 - The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, discussed today with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu media freedom situation in the country, in particular imprisonment of journalists and Internet restrictions.

"We discussed media freedom challenges in Turkey that require immediate attention, more specifically imprisonment of journalists and Internet restrictions," Mijatović said concluding her first official visit upon the invitation by the Foreign Minister. "I asked the Government to improve the situation of imprisoned journalists, for example, through alternatives to pre-trial detention, such as release on bail."

"I also asked for urgent reform of the criminal law. Currently it can be used to restrict media freedom and even imprison journalists expressing critical views, as well as block websites,” said Mijatović offering her Office's full assistance in this reform.

During the meeting Minister Davutoğlu assured the Representative that the main political philosophy of the Government is to promote freedom and eliminate restrictions. Mijatović said: "I hope that the good spirit of our meeting will be quickly translated into concrete measures to improve media freedom".

During her visit Mijatović welcomed the 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. She expressed hope that this action plan to adopt and implement reform proposals will be approved by the Government.

In a meeting with the Turkish telecommunication authorities they presented the recently introduced Safe Internet Service filtering system. "I am glad that now people have the choice whether to use this system. Making it voluntary was a recommendation by my Office and I trust that this filtering system will never be imposed on Internet users," she stressed.

Mijatović also had meetings at Justice Ministry; Transport, Maritime and Communications Ministry; and the Directorate General of Press and Information of the Office of the Prime Minister. Furthermore she met with media professionals and human rights activists at Ankara University and Istanbul Bilgi University.

The Representative will conclude her stay in Turkey on 16 December with a visit to journalists in Silivri prison.


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