A Celebration Turns Into a Somber Recitation of Jailed Turkish Journalists

In FOREIGN RELATIONS, New York Times Editorial On

The mood this year, however, was anything but celebratory, and for obvious reasons. Under Mr. Erdogan’s authoritarian rule, not just an independent press but many rights and freedoms have sharply deteriorated. Instead, the mood was somber as Platform24’s staff performed a kind of dirge, reading the names of imprisoned colleagues one by one.

“We want them to know, we want their families to know, we want their readers and audiences to know, and we want the government to know that they are not alone,” said Yasemin Congar, one of Platform24’s founders.

“Journalism is not a crime,” she added.

When she and others started the group in 2013, the intent was to promote editorial independence among Turkey’s news media and hold self-improvement training workshops for journalists. But the increasingly anti-press environment has forced them to shift course, hiring lawyers and spending much time trying to get their colleagues out of prison.

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