Turkey violated journalists’ rights, Europe court rules

Turkey violated journalists’ rights, Europe court rules
Demonstrators hold posters of jailed journalists as they stage a protest in front of a courthouse in Istanbul on September 9, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 10 November 2020

Turkey violated journalists’ rights, Europe court rules

Turkey violated journalists’ rights, Europe court rules
  • Turkey violated free speech and unlawful arrest protections when it detained 10 journalists and managers of a newspaper critical of the government in 2016
  • The 10 worked for the opposition daily Cumhuriyet and were arrested following a series of articles and social media posts criticizing government policies

STRASBOURG, France: The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday ruled that Turkey violated free speech and unlawful arrest protections when it detained 10 journalists and managers of a newspaper critical of the government in 2016.
The 10 worked for the opposition daily Cumhuriyet, one of the oldest newspapers in Turkey, and were arrested following a series of articles and social media posts criticizing government policies.
The group was accused of promoting and disseminating propaganda on behalf of “terrorist organizations” including the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
Their arrest came just months after a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who unleashed a crackdown on the opposition in response.
The detained journalists had lodged various applications for release, but all were rejected by Turkish courts.
One of the group was detained for 16 months, another for over 14 months, one for nearly nine months, and the rest for over seven months, the rights court in Strasbourg noted.
“The decisions of the domestic courts ordering the applicants’ initial and continued pre-trial detention had been based on mere suspicion that did not reach the required level of reasonableness,” the judges ruled.
They found the detainees had been exercising their right to free speech, did not support or advocate the use of violence, and there was no evidence that they wished to contribute to the objectives of any terror group.
The seven judges, including one from Turkey, ruled unanimously that Ankara had violated the group’s right to liberty and security under the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as their right to free speech.
Two of the detained journalists said the court ruling did not go far enough.
“I am waiting for an apology,” tweeted Musa Kart, a prominent cartoonist who used to work for Cumhuriyet.
Also on Twitter, Murat Sabuncu, formerly a journalist at the paper, said: “It is our duty to demand freedom not only for ourselves but for everyone who was subjected to injustice.”
The court ordered Turkey to pay damages of 16,000 euros (about $18,800) to each of the applicants.
Turkey is considered one of the world’s leading jailer of journalists, and is ranked 154 out of 180 countries on a Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
The country falls under the jurisdiction of the ECHR as a member of the Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights organization.


Amazon launches Prime in Saudi Arabia

Amazon has launched its Prime service in Saudi Arabia with a free 30-day trial followed by a subscription fee of SR16 ($4) per month or SR140 per year. (Supplied)
Amazon has launched its Prime service in Saudi Arabia with a free 30-day trial followed by a subscription fee of SR16 ($4) per month or SR140 per year. (Supplied)
Updated 26 January 2021

Amazon launches Prime in Saudi Arabia

Amazon has launched its Prime service in Saudi Arabia with a free 30-day trial followed by a subscription fee of SR16 ($4) per month or SR140 per year. (Supplied)
  • Prime service has over 150 million members globally
  • Video service in Saudi Arabia will include global titles with Arabic subtitles

DUBAI: Amazon has launched its Prime service in Saudi Arabia with a free 30-day trial followed by a subscription fee of SR16 ($4) per month or SR140 per year.

The service allows Saudi Prime members to access shipping benefits such as free one-day delivery in all key metropolitan areas in Saudi Arabia, with the option of same-day delivery to Riyadh and Jeddah.

Subscribers will also receive free international delivery for items over SR200 from Amazon US and UAE, access to Prime Video and Prime Gaming.

“What is interesting about the Prime program, especially for small businesses and retailers in Saudi Arabia at this time, is the use of the infrastructure we have put in place in the Kingdom,” said Ronaldo Mouchawar, vice president of Amazon MENA. “This is a good opportunity for entrepreneurs, brand owners, sellers, retailers and big businesses to benefit from the technology as well as the logistic infrastructure that is available.”

Ronaldo Mouchawar, vice president of Amazon MENA. (Supplied)

The Prime service has over 150 million members globally and its video service in Saudi Arabia will include global titles with Arabic subtitles and dubbing options. 

Not all of the platform’s content currently features Arabic subtitles and dubbing but Amazon is working on prioritizing shows that are popular among Saudi audiences. 

As Amazon releases new global programs, the plan is to “include Arabic as a language in the thinking and release,” said Mouchawar.

In 2019, Amazon reportedly spent $6.5 billion on original content. It has not launched any originals in the MENA region yet. 

“Making sure the content is compelling to the local population is important as we are now adding multiple countries in the region,” said Mouchawar, adding: “We’ll see what we can do with what’s available as we want to make sure that the shows are something our customers want to watch and are compelling and then we’ll move forward.”