Commentary

Media ban behind the wall

Last Tuesday saw events that have since reverberated and escalated in Turkey. Two armed men claiming to be with an outlawed leftist political party called DHKP-C entered the largest courthouse in Europe a couple blocks from my apartment. They took hostage the prosecutor pursuing the case of a teenager who was hit with a tear gas canister in the Gezi Protests in 2013. He was sent into a coma and died nine months later. The militants claimed the prosecutor was dragging his feet on the case. Their actions did not do much to ease public perception of the alleged terrorist group.

One of the first things the militants did was hack a Twitter account and post a picture of the terrified lawyer, gun pressed aggressively against his head. The walls of the room had been draped with the flag of the DHKP-C. It was clearly meant to terrorize and send a message beyond this one case. (I’m not providing a link to the picture for reasons to be explained.) They demanded all accused and unaccused police officers record their confessions to the boy’s murder within 3 hours. If at 3:36 pm their demands were not met, the prosecutor would pay the price.

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Several news publications published the picture from Twitter on their platforms. The Turkish government immediately imposed a media blackout. Many have been to quick to judge this as another example of outrageous censorship.  Continue reading “Media ban behind the wall”