Journalism and Free Speech Trials: Week of January 20

Yazar / Referans: 
The Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA)

This week several journalism and freedom of expression trials will resume at courts. Below is a list of this week’s hearings:

23 January Thursday

Third hearing of the trial where journalist Hayri Demir is accused of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda” charges will be held at Ankara 15th High Criminal Court this week. This new trial received media attention because evidence presented in the indictment included footage and photographs taken by Demir while he was covering news in Syria. This footage was inside a memory card from a camera that was stolen from Demir’s home in Ankara. 

Cumhuriyet reporter Hazal Ocak and the newspaper’s publisher Alev Coşkun will appear before the İstanbul Anadolu 14th Civil Court of First Instance for the trial where they’re sued for a news story published on 6 October 2019 titled “Luxury fixture with a view of the Bosphorus” with Ocak’s signature. Ocak and Coşkun were sued by Cengiz Conglomerate’s Mehmet Cengiz with a request of 1 million Turkish Liras, claiming that “his reputation was tarnished.”

Second hearing of the trial where journalist Kenan Kırkaya faces “making terrorist propaganda” charges based on news stories he shared from his social media accounts between 2014 – 2015 will be held at Ankara 32nd High Criminal Court. News stories titled “YPG: We’ll liberate Jerablus as well,” “Criticism from KCK to both the state and their local units” and “PKK commander talked about the war against ISIS” were included in the indictment as evidence, which was drafted on July 31, 2019. On July 21, 2019 pro-government Yeni Akit newspaper had targeted Kırkaya for his column published in Yeni Yaşam titled “Attach towards Kurdistan is not only censorship.” 

Third hearing of the trial where Yeni Asya daily’s Editor-in-Chief Kazım Güleçyüzand cartoonist Halil İbrahim Özdabak face “consecutively making propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization” charges will be held at İstanbul 29th High Criminal Court this week. 

24 January Friday

Third hearing of the trial where Lyon-1 University faculty member and peace petition signatory Associate Professor Tuna Altınel faces “making terrorist propaganda” charges for attending an event organized by Lyon Rhône-Alpes Kurdish Friendship Association on 21 February 2019, titled ‘Cizre: The Story of a Massacre’ will resume at Balıkesir 2nd High Criminal Court. Altınel was arrested on May 11, 2019 and was released pending trial during the first hearing that was held on July 30, 2019. 

Second hearing of the trial where Yeni Yaşam daily’s former Managing Editor Osman Akın face “terrorist propaganda” charges due to 3 news reports from 21 – 22 May 2019 will be held at İstanbul 24th High Criminal Court.