This investigation is part of the Justice for Journalists Foundation Investigative Grant Programme and was originally published by MLSA (Media and Law Studies Association).
In many parts of the world, journalists, writers and even activists are often threatened and are tried to be silenced by Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation or simply SLAPPs, for questioning and sharing the truth in matters of public interest and the right of the public to receive information.
Gökçer Tahincioğlu and İsmail Özgür Zeren, in collaboration with the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA), describe the most striking examples of SLAPP cases in Turkey from the experiences of five journalists who have been exposed for having defended the public’s rights against those who hold power in the documentary prepared for Justice for Journalists Foundation (JFJ). The common aim of these cases, which is reported by Gökçer Tahincioğlu and MLSA Co-Director journalist Barış Altıntaş, is to punish the journalists who have made the truth heard by the public, which the rule owners and their surroundings don’t want exposed.
Çiğdem Toker, who was targeted with many suits for damages amounting to millions of lira because she questioned the irregularities in the use of public resources; Abdurrahman Gök, who stands trial in a case facing up to 20 years in prison for documenting how university student Kemal Kurkut was killed by law enforcement during Newroz 2017 in Diyarbakır; Ruşen Takva, who was targeted by the Ministry of Interior after reporting the migration from Afghanistan and who was tried for membership in a terrorist organization for covering a march planned in Van as a journalist; Ergün Demir, a local journalist in Kocaeli who was detained for reporting a tragic suicide; and Sinan Aygül, who was sentenced to prison for reporting on child abuse, talk about their experiences with SLAPP lawsuits.
Read the report here.