OSCE representative calls on authorities in Turkey to respect journalists’ rights, following detention of British journalists

VIENNA, 31 August 2015 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today called on the Turkish authorities to respect journalists’ rights and to refrain from actions that can hinder the freedom to report about issues of public importance, following the detention of two British journalists in Turkey.

“The accusations that these journalists face are extremely grave and can threaten their safety,” Mijatović said. “I trust that the authorities will do their utmost to ensure that the investigation is carried out in a transparent and swift manner, so that these journalists can resume their important work as soon as possible.”

The Representative said that journalists must be free to report on issues of public interest, including sensitive issues.

On 27 August, British journalists Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury, both with Vice News, were covering developments in Diyarbakir in south-eastern Turkey, when they were taken into custody by the authorities. Further, the journalists’ hotel rooms were searched by the authorities and some of their equipment was confiscated.

Together with their translator and their fixer, Hanrahan and Pendlebury are accused of supporting terrorist groups. They are expected to appear in court today.

Mijatović added that her Office would continue monitoring the issue closely.

Previous statements by the Representative on media freedom and freedom of expression issues in Turkey are available at www.osce.org/fom.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.