World Association of News Publishers

Media Groups Ask Vice President Biden to Prioritize Press Freedom on Upcoming Visit to Turkey

Media Groups Ask Vice President Biden to Prioritize Press Freedom on Upcoming Visit to Turkey

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WAN-IFRA and the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) have written to US Vice President Joseph Biden urging him, on his upcoming visit to Ankara, Turkey on 24 August, to raise with the Turkish government issues of journalists becoming targets for state repression and to request the immediate release of those who have been sent to jail or who are awaiting trial simply for carrying out their professional duties.

For immediate release

"We encourage Vice President Biden to call on the democratically elected Turkish government to actively uphold the fundamental human right of freedom of expression and to reinstate press freedoms for the benefit of current and future generations," said NAA President and CEO David Chavern.

For many years, Turkey has had more free-expression cases filed against it in the European Court of Human Rights than any other signatory to the convention.

Despite repeated attempts by international press organizations to raise concerns with the Turkish authorities and encourage a dialogue, these free press issues have been unaddressed. WAN-IFRA President Tomas Brunegård stated, "We are dismayed by the incessant pressure our Turkish colleagues have been facing and stand shoulder to shoulder with the media community in this time of crisis. The Turkish state is responsible for safeguarding the freedom of the press yet is so far failing to meet its international obligations in this regard. Instead, journalists and the media have become the victims of a deliberate effort to silence critical opinion that we condemn in the strongest possible terms."

Some prominent journalists critical of the government have been arrested and imprisoned, accused of espionage and treason with the prospect of lengthy sentences if convicted. Since July's failed coup, the problem has intensified, with many journalists, editors and media owners living in fear of reprisal. "A free press, in Turkey or anywhere else, is a fundamental cornerstone for a developed, democratic and peaceful society," stated Marcelo Rech, President of the WAN-IFRA World Editors Forum. "As such, the editors around the world expect respect for the integrity of their colleagues under any circumstances."

Specifically, the letter asks Vice President Biden to seek assurances that the Turkish government will respect the independence of the press and the right of the Turkish media to operate free from harassment and intervention; reinstate ownership to independent media outlets that have been shut down by the government and its supporters; and recognize its responsibilities and obligations to freedom of expression under the international covenants to which Turkey is a signatory.

Chavern adds, "Above all, we ask that Turkey prioritize journalists' safety."

To view the full letter, click here.  
About NAA: Newspaper Association of America is a nonprofit organization representing nearly 2,000 newspapers and their multiplatform businesses in the United States and Canada. NAA members include daily newspapers, as well as nondailies, other print publications and online products. Headquartered near Washington, D.C., in Arlington, Va., the association focuses on the major issues that affect today's newspaper industry: public policy/legal matters, advertising revenue growth and audience development across the medium's broad portfolio of products and digital platforms. Information about NAA and the industry also may be found at   About WAN-IFRA: The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), based in Paris and Frankfurt with regional offices in Chennai, Singapore and Mexico, is the global organization for the world's newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organization represents more than 18,000 print and online publications and serves over 3,000 member companies in more than 120 countries. Its mission is to defend and promote press freedom and help independent news publishing companies to succeed in their transformation process, increase their business, and perform their crucial role in open societies. WAN-IFRA is a leading global resource for publishers, editors, chief technology officers, digital business executives, news publisher associations, technology suppliers, service providers and research centers with three focus areas: Innovation and Business Development - Regulation and Global Media Policy - Press Freedom. More information can be found at



Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2016-08-22 11:47

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...