EU rights envoy: Turkey must overhaul media freedom laws

By REUTERS
November 15, 2011 16:01

 
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ANKARA - European Union candidate Turkey needs to change its attitude to media freedom and laws under which more than 50 Turkish journalists languish in Turkish jails, the head of the Council of Europe human rights body said on Tuesday.

"We clearly have a situation that needs to be solved so that Turkey moves forward," secretary general Thorbjorn Jagland told a group of foreign journalists in Ankara during a visit.

Jagland said Turkey had some 16,000 cases pending in the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights, of which about 1,000 concerned media freedom, a situation he said had "a chilling effect" on freedom of expression.

"Turkish courts and prosecutors need to have a better understanding of European standards of what journalists are allowed to write and say without being put in jail," said Jagland, who met members of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government to discuss media freedom.

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