WSJ says Turkey reporter convicted of ‘terror propaganda’

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends the funeral of a soldier who died during fighting with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Ayla Albayrak, a Wall Street Journal reporter, has been sentenced to two years and one month in prison over a 2015 article about clashes between the army and the PKK. (AFP)
Updated 11 October 2017
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WSJ says Turkey reporter convicted of ‘terror propaganda’

WASHINGTON: The Wall Street Journal said one of its reporters has been convicted in Turkey and jailed in absentia on charges of publishing “terror propaganda” in an article on clashes between the Turkish army and outlawed Kurdish militants.
Ayla Albayrak, who is currently in New York, has been sentenced to two years and one month in prison, the Journal said Tuesday.
The newspaper defended the article as balanced, and Albayrak said she would appeal.
The ruling has not been confirmed by the authorities or the media in Turkey, where the case has never been publicized.
The August 2015 article reported on a clash in Silopi in the restive southeast between Turkish security forces and the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Following the collapse of a truce in summer of 2015, the Turkish army engaged with fierce clashes with the PKK as it moved to push their militants out of city centers in the region.
Rights activists claim excessive force was used but the government says the operations were essential to bring security to city centers that had fallen under PKK control.
Albayrak’s story featured interviews with the town mayor and residents, a Turkish government official, and a representative of an organization Turkey says is the PKK’s youth wing.
Turkey, as well as the US and the EU, consider the PKK a terrorist group.
The reporter, who has dual Turkish and Finnish citizenship, was ordered in November 2015 to visit her local police station, where she was told she was being probed for allegedly spreading terrorist propaganda.
The reporter argued that the article accurately reflected the status of the conflict between the PKK and the Turkish government, the Journal said.
Then in April 2016, Albayrak was indicted on charges she had violated anti-terror laws.
“This ruling against a professional and respected journalist is an affront to all who are committed to furthering a free and robust press,” said William Lewis, Dow Jones’s chief executive officer and publisher of The Wall Street Journal.
“We call on those who share this commitment to make their voices heard.”
The conviction came as a rift between the US and Turkey deepened, following last week’s arrest of a US consulate employee.
Press freedom has sharply declined in Turkey in recent months, rights groups say, with increased censorship, crackdowns on independent media and a rise in detentions and violence against journalists.


Facebook accused of discrimination with job ad targeting

Updated 19 September 2018
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Facebook accused of discrimination with job ad targeting

  • It charges that job ads on Facebook targeted male users only
  • Facebook lets advertisers target ads on the basis of gender and age, which is against the law in America

WASHINGTON: A complaint has been filed with the US government accusing Facebook and 10 other companies of using the platform’s job ad targeting system to discriminate on the basis of gender.
The complaint was announced Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union, a union called the Communications Workers of America and a labor law firm, on behalf of three female job seekers and a group of “thousands” of members represented by the union.
It charges that job ads on Facebook targeted male users only. It also alleges that most of the listings were for jobs in male-dominated fields, so women and non-binary users were excluded from seeing these ads.
Facebook lets advertisers target ads on the basis of gender and age, which is against the law in America, the complaint reads.
“I shouldn’t be shut out of the chance to hear about a job opportunity just because I am a woman,” said Bobbi Spees, one of the three women named in the complaint.
Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said in a statement to CNNMoney that there is no place for discrimination on Facebook.
“It’s strictly prohibited in our policies, and over the past year we’ve strengthened our systems to further protect against misuse,” Osborne said.
Facebook will defend itself once it has reviewed the complaint, he added.
The ACLU noted that online platforms such as Facebook are generally not liable for content published by others.
“But in this case, Facebook is doing much more than merely publishing content created by others,” the advocacy group argued.
“It has built the architecture for this discriminatory marketing framework, enabled and encouraged advertisers to use it, and delivered the gender-based ads according to employers’ sex-based preferences.”
Last month the US Department of Housing and Urban Development accused Facebook of breaking the law by letting landlords and home sellers use its ad-targeting system to discriminate against potential buyers or tenants.
Facebook responded by cutting more than 5,000 ad-targeting options to prevent advertisers from discriminating on the basis of traits such as religion or race.