Free speech isn’t free. At least not in Turkey, where 170 journalists are reportedly being detained as part of a massive crackdown following the 2016 coup.
After a failed coup attempt last year, which was so poorly organized and executed, it makes one wonder who even came up with the plan. Turkey’s president, Erdogan, has blamed the coup attempt on a US-based cleric, Gulen. Naturally, Gulen denies the claim, suggesting instead that Erdogan himself staged the coup to justify political purges within a largely-secular government, in an effort to get support for establishing a theocratic rule of law.
The mass arrests following the coup numbered in the tens of thousands, and trials are still ongoing for some, like the opposition newspaper, “Cumhuriyet”. With Free Speech in America under constant assault by people who are enjoying their right to Free Speech, it’s a chilling reminder of just what it means to abandon the principle, which is critical for the functioning of a free press.
19 employees of the newspaper are being charged with various crimes, including “sponsoring terror organizations,” despite a complete lack of evidence, aside from criticism in their reporting. Townhall reports that Secretary General Christophe Deloire of Reporters Without Borders referred to the case as “a mockery of justice”, expressing the dire need to defend the “few remaining free media”.
Erdogan insists that these trials are not attacks on the press, but specifically these individuals for criminal behavior, like aiding terrorist groups. The president maintains that these trials are unrelated to any journalistic activities. There are reportedly some 170 members of the press detained in Turkey right now, which is unprecedented.
Free press is always at risk, and as we see more and more efforts here in the U.S. to suppress unpleasant news or details, – like the illegal alien status of perpetrators of violent crimes, or the all-too-frequent rape and hate crime hoaxes often cited as examples of “Trump’s America” by mainstream liberal media – and bury “fake news” that doesn’t support an accepted narrative, it becomes more and more essential that people defend the press from efforts to censor it, either via direct government action, like the case in Turkey, or through less direct means, like government cooperation with social media, or state schools barring speakers the students and faculty disagree with. Of course, once a state school is involved, the government is involved, and this, per my understanding, is the beginning of the government tyranny the founding fathers warned us about; a fundamental justification for the right to bear arms.
Feature Image via Bill of Rights Institute