Journalist rights watchdog urges Turkey to ‘stop harassing journalists’

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which is dedicated to protecting the rights of journalists and their free expression worldwide, highlighted a number of recent court cases involving reporters in the Turkey. (AP/File Photo)
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Updated 24 October 2020

Journalist rights watchdog urges Turkey to ‘stop harassing journalists’

  • Two Bloomberg LP reporters will face trial for sharing economic information that the government claims was “false, wrong or deceptive”
  • Turkey ranks 154 out of 180 on the World Press Freedom Index

LONDON: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has urged Turkey to “stop harassing journalists and prosecuting them on trumped up charges,” following a series of “baseless and harassing" charges against reporters.

The NGO, which is dedicated to protecting the rights of journalists and their free expression worldwide, highlighted a number of recent court cases involving reporters in the country.

On Thursday, the CPJ said, a Turkish court convicted freelance journalist Sabiha Temizkan of “making terrorist propaganda,” and sentenced her to 15 months in prison for a tweet made in 2014.

She tweeted a news headline about the fall of an Iraqi town to Daesh, and said that she forgot to add the link to the story. The court argued that the story’s headline violated the law.

The day before Temizkan’s sentencing, on Wednesday, another Istanbul court rejected an appeal by exiled journalist Can Dündar, which allowed the authorities to seize his assets held in Turkey.

Two Bloomberg reporters — are facing trial in the coming days, the CPJ said, alongside three other journalists and 33 co-defendants.

They will face charges of sharing “false, wrong or deceptive information” to affect the markets, and face possible jail terms of five years.

Bloomberg is a media organization dedicated to covering financial news and market movements worldwide.

“The Turkish authorities persist in filing baseless and harassing charges against journalists for doing their jobs,” Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, said in New York. The charges “are purely retaliatory” and “must be dropped immediately.”

“None of these journalists has committed any crime, let alone sharing terrorist propaganda, spreading false information about the economy or any other ludicrous charge authorities may try to cook up.”

Turkey is notorious for its harsh treatment of journalists and constraints on free speech. It ranks 154 out of 180 on Reporters Without Borders’ 2020 World Press Freedom Index.


MBC Group to bring Rotana Media’s channels and content to Shahid VIP

Updated 24 November 2020

MBC Group to bring Rotana Media’s channels and content to Shahid VIP

  • Rotana’s TV content will also be made available on-demand so that subscribers can watch it anytime

DUBAI: MBC Group and Rotana Media Group, the largest media companies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, are joining forces to bring Rotana’s TV channels to Shahid VIP, MBC Group’s premium subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platform.

Commenting on the partnership, MBC chairman, Waleed Al-Ibrahim said: “One year ago we signed our first partnership with Rotana Media Group, which contributed immensely to the Shahid VIP success story in 2020. Taking our collaboration to the next level was a natural step as we continue to enhance the Shahid VIP value proposition.”

Rotana’s TV content will also be made available on-demand so that subscribers can watch it anytime, anywhere, in the region. The long-term partnership will allow Shahid VIP to expand its Arabic content offering as it continues to deliver on its mission to entertain MENA audiences through a best-in-class streaming service.

Rotana’s award-winning TV channels – including Rotana Cinema, Rotana Khalijia, Rotana+, Rotana Classic, Rotana Kids, Rotana Drama and Rotana Music) – went live in high definition on Shahid VIP from Nov. 22 across the MENA region. Additionally, Rotana’s content will be available on-demand from December.

Walid Arab Hashem, CEO of Rotana Studios & TV

Walid Arab Hashem, CEO of Rotana Studios and TV, said: “We are delighted to conclude this groundbreaking deal with MBC Group and offer Rotana channels and content on its very successful platform Shahid VIP. We are true believers in the value of Arabic entertainment and its local, regional and international appeal, and we look forward to having a long-term relationship with MBC as a means to serve our audiences.”