Switzerland-based campaign calls for release of Kurdish journalists detained in Amed

A Switzerland-based campaign was launched for Kurdish journalists detained in Amed.

The reactions to the detention of 21 people, 20 of them journalists, in Amed on 8 June are increasing.

In Switzerland, more than 20 civil society organisations, political parties and rights organisations, including SOLIFONDS, Mojust International Fondation, Medico international Schweiz, Plattform für Frieden und Solidaritat, SP Schweiz, Collective Question Kurde de l'Université de Genève, Basta, Demokratische Juristinnen und Juristen der Schweiz DJS, Solidarité sans frontières, VERT-E-S Suisse, issued a call and demanded the immediate release of the journalists.

The call pointed out that the pressures on freedom of thought and expression in Turkey are increasing, and emphasized that Turkey has been turned into a prison for journalists.

The statement said: “Freedom of expression is under constant and increasing attack in Turkey. Academics, journalists and writers who criticise the government are at risk of criminal investigation, prosecution, intimidation, harassment and censorship. This strategy, combined with the recent arrest of 21 journalists in Diyarbakir, sends a clear and disturbing message and has serious consequences for press freedom. The scale of the arrests and the repression of the media by the Turkish government is described by many international institutions and organisations as that of "a country that is a prison for journalists".

In an environment where fundamental rights and freedoms are violated, the government and its partners continue to target journalists, to pave the way for physical attacks and to reward those who attack journalists with impunity. Keeping journalists in prison on arbitrary charges and for long periods of time continues to be an insult to democracy.

Turkey remains an extremely repressive country for the press. Turkish authorities and courts equate critical journalism with criminal terrorist activity. This situation has also been widely criticised by international organisations, including the UN, the Council of Europe and the EU, RSF and Amnesty International. Turkey ranks 149th out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index and currently 60 journalists are in prison in Turkey.

Moreover, the government is trying to create a new legal tool for pressure on the media and for censorship. The new draft law on "disinformation and false information" provides for a prison sentence of up to three years for "anyone who intends to endanger the country's security or public order". Such a bill, which leaves the definition of "disinformation" and "intention" so vague, exposes journalists and millions of internet users in Turkey to the risk of criminal prosecution for sharing information that the government does not approve. The bill can become another tool to harass journalists and opposition groups and generalize self-censorship.

In this context, we, the undersigned, demand the end of the persecution of journalists in Turkey, the immediate release of journalists currently detained, the repeal of the country's anti-terrorism legislation, the establishment of effective safeguards for freedom of expression and the independence of the judiciary, the end of the systematic violation of democratic norms and the establishment of press freedom and the rule of law. We call on Turkey to act in accordance with the international conventions it has signed.”

The statement called for the immediate release of the detained journalists.

First signatories of the campaign

Among the first signatories of the campaign are:

Jean Ziegler, Erica D. Ziegler, Prof. Radha D'Souza, Margaret Owen, Les Lewidow, Siobhan Wall, Juan Gasparini, Desmond Fernandes, Estella Schmid, Cornelia Rohr, Fréderike Geerdink, Engin Sustam, Solange Zongo, Assmaa Shaban, Raquel More than a hundred academics from many parts of the world such as Switzerland, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Turkey, Sweden, Netherlands and India, including Vidal, Viviana Fiorentino, Therese Kieran, Ragıp Zarakolu, Lami Özgen, Miriam Turley, Steve Sweeney.

Those who want to participate in the campaign can send an e-mail to [email protected]

or fill out the form at