National Press Club Alarmed by Press Conditions in Turkey

By Rachel Oswald

On November 1, the National Press Club voiced alarm over deteriorating press freedom conditions in Turkey, where authorities moved this week to detain a prominent opposition newspaper editor and at least a dozen other media figures.

Murat Sabuncu, the editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, Turkey’s oldest secularist newspaper, and a number of other journalists and news executives were rounded up in police raids Monday morning, according to news reports.

The Istanbul prosecutor’s office said the detained journalists support Kurdish militants and the Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, of engineering a failed July coup.

A few days earlier, Erdogan’s government shuttered 15 pro-Kurdish news organizations.

All told, 160 news outlets have been shuttered since the failed coup, according to human rights groups. Turkey is also once again the world’s leading jailer of journalists, with 130 behind bars.

“It is dreadful that press conditions in a self-described democracy have sunk to this level,” NPC President Thomas Burr said. “It is unbelievable the National Press Club has found itself speaking out regarding worsening press freedom conditions in Turkey as many times as it has in the last few years, far more than any other nation and certainly far more than should be needful for a NATO member and a critical security partner of the United States. We hope the next U.S. president will establish a policy early on that press freedom conditions and anti-democratic trends in Turkey will be a top focus in the bilateral relationship.”

The National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. Through its Press Freedom Committee, the club works to promote freedom of expression and transparency at home and abroad. The National Press Club Journalism Institute, a non-profit affiliate, equips news professionals with the skills to innovate, leverages emerging trends, recognizes innovators and mentors the next generation.

The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) is pleased to announce that it will hold a panel discussion entitled “The Armenian Genocide in American Journalism: 1915-2015” at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

The Assembly panel will feature presentations by Christopher Atamian, author and writer for Huffington Post, Michael Bobelian, author and contributing writer for Forbes.com, Stephen Kurkjian, former journalist fromThe Boston Globe, and Robert Ourlian, editor for the Washington Bureau of The Wall Street Journal. Peter Mirijanian, President of Peter Mirijanian Public Affairs, will serve as moderator.

The discussion will focus on how the Armenian Genocide has been characterized and portrayed in American media over the last 100 years. Mainstream American publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Boston Globe extensively covered the Armenian Genocide before, during and after the attempted annihilation of the Armenian people. In addition to the reports of the massacres, coverage of America’s effort to help save the survivors, the first international philanthropic campaign of the American people in the 20th century, received considerable attention in the press. As we approach the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, the topic is being featured in every major news syndicate across the globe.

The panel will be held in the Holeman Lounge, National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045. The event is free and open to the public. Space is limited and RSVP is required. Online registration is available here.