Journalist Kutlu: Free Press remains loyal to the tradition of resistance

Journalist Berivan Kutlu said that the Free Press remains loyal to the tradition of resistance despite Turkey being a journalists' prison: “Even though our colleagues are imprisoned, they somehow continue to write."

The Turkish government has legalized censorship to make sure that violations of rights are not revealed to the public. Moreover, it continues to detain and arrest journalists with various excuses and threatens them with heavy penalties. There are around 80 journalists behind bars in Turkey, one of the countries with the highest number of journalists in prison.

There is a tradition of resistance

In an interview with ANF, journalist Berivan Kutlu said that the main reason for the censorship laws introduced by the AKP government was to prevent the exposure of violations of rights. Kutlu stated that it was not only censorship laws, but also self-censorship that affected journalists. She pointed out that the reason for this was lawsuits, penalties and constant police raids against journalists. “Despite that, there is a tradition of resistance, a tradition of the Free Press. There is also an opposition circle in the Turkish media. Loyalty to this tradition continues. Journalists continue their efforts to make themselves and the public heard.”

The free press takes no step back

Kutlu continued: “Despite all these intense pressures, there is still resistance. The Free Press does not give up, it still makes news. It is not possible for us to accept or welcome government censorship and bans against the press. We insist that we are against these practices, journalism is not a crime, and we are journalists. We know that the reason for the policies pursued by the government is that it does not want violations to be revealed to the public in Turkey, Kurdistan and the international arena. The Free Press is struggling in Kurdistan and Turkey, and also in Europe, facing intense pressure. Although some journalists are hesitant to write about certain things here, friends in Europe write about them and make news. Journalists in the tradition of the Free Press do not back down. In other words, even though our colleagues are jailed, they write somehow. Currently, 79 of our friends are in prison, but they still make news. There is a tradition of the Free Press that continues to speak. Journalists are usually jailed because of the news they make. The accusation against our colleagues who have been imprisoned since October following an Ankara-based operation concerns the reports published by Mezopotamya News Agency. They are accused of conducting ‘propaganda for an organization’, but the only thing we do is journalism.”

It's difficult to be a female journalist

Kutlu emphasized that the government wanted a silent and unquestioning society. She added: “They want a society that agrees to all their nationalist and chauvinist policies. They want to maintain their power in this way. The difficulties faced by female journalists are no different from other journalists working in the field of the Free Press, but being a female journalist in the field is much more difficult. Male policemen may think that they can beat and repress a woman more easily. There is also a male-dominated system in Turkey. There is a gender oppression against women. Moreover, many female colleagues are harassed while working in the field. There are such difficulties.”