TGS ISTANBUL BRANCH – “59 Journalists Laid Off, Forced to Quit During Gezi Resistance”

BIANET 23.7.2013 – Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) Istanbul Branch released a statement saying that at least 22 media staff were laid off and 37 forced to quit work during Turkey’s Gezi Resistance protests. “Media in Turkey is going through one of its darkest periods,” branch chairperson Durmuş said.

Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) Istanbul Branch released a statement saying that at least 22 media staff were laid off and 37 forced to quit work during Gezi Resistance protests across Turkey. The statement has been announced around a press conference at TGS headquarters with the attendance of Tuğçe Tatari and Hasan Cömert, former journalists at Akşam newspaper and NTV channel respectively.

Durmuş: Darkest period of media in Turkey

“Media in Turkey is going through one of its darkest periods ever with all its editorial policies depending on censures and misinformations that confiscated public right to be informed. These policies are serving to the government and not the people,” TGS Istanbul Branch Chairperson Gökhan Durmuş in a statement.

“As political authorities are strengthening its pressures on media through media moguls every day, media staff are resisting with their activities, articles, and programs. However, they are also subjected to mobbing, lays offs or forced resignations. The lack of unionization among media is making them more fragile to attacks and pressures.”

22 lay offs, 37 resignations

Durmuş stated that 59 media staff became unemployed since the beginning of Gezi Resistance protest on May 27.

“The situation of 14 media staff is still unknown. Among 59 who lost their job, there are 22 lay offs, 37 forced resignations.

“A huge majority – if not all – of these lay offs and resignations are related to the censure and disinformation policies of media corporations. Our friends resisted against these measures, they struggled to restore public right to be informed, and it costed them with their jobs.”  “Some of them lost their job because their magazine was shut down. Others faced censure in their work. Some even lost their job because of their tweets. One co-worker lost his job because he greeted Gezi Park protestors who were holding a demonstration in front of his workplace. We also know that some of those lay offs have been issued without repartitions.  “As Journalists Union of Turkey, we are reminding the authorities that we will resume our struggle against media slaughters, moguls and government pressures, uninsured working, censure and misinformation policies. We will be standing side by side with all our colleagues who perform their profession despite all pressures, lays offs and forced resignations.”“And lastly, we are calling to government officials and media moguls. Stop the slaughter in media! Whatever you do, you will always confront ‘resisting’ journalists who back up their professional dignity, seek the truth and are ready to pay the cost of fighting for public right to be informed.”

Tatari: TMSF acted out of its boundaries

Following the press statement, former Akşam newspaper journalist Tuğçe Tatari held a statement concerning Turkey’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) order to confiscate the newspaper.  “TMSF can lay off a journalist. But they should do in order to replace him/her with a better candidate. This can mark a reformation in the newspaper. But TMSF can’t just hire a columnist with no popular recognition. There is no way a newspaper can make profit that way. Apparently, Akşam newspaper is not doing great in terms of sales.”

“TMSF’s role is to confiscate institution facing bankrupt danger and turn them into profitable institutions again. It is not in TMSF’s business to change editorial policies according to the current government’s demands. This against media ethics as well as law.”

Cömert: Mainstream media no longer does journalism

Cömert, on the other hand, said there is currently no possibility to do journalism in Turkey’s mainstream media as the sector belonged to business people.“We feel like we are doing something dirty. By the time we are fired, we are thought to do things that we are not supposed to be doing. They are telling us how to cover certain news. This is already ‘awful’ enough.”