08:53 GMT +318 November 2019
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    An employee of Zaman newspaper holds a chain during a protest at the courtyard of the newspaper in Istanbul, Turkey March 4, 2016.

    ‘Freedom of Speech Not Among Turkey’s Basic Civil Rights’

    © REUTERS / Kursat Bayhan
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    Turkey Bans Sputnik News Agency Website (25)
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    Turkey's crackdown on press freedom signals that democracy in the country is failing, and other fundamental liberties and civil rights are also at risk of being taken away, according to Turkish political scientist Tekin Okay who spoke to Sputnik Türkiye about the blocking of its website.

    “In any democratic country press freedom is seen as a fundamental and indispensable element of civil rights and freedoms. The country which observes press freedom, observes any other human right and liberty and vice versa, one shouldn’t expect a country which deprive its residents of freedom of press, to observe other rights and liberties of its people,” Tekin Okay told Sputnik Türkiye.

    His comments come in regards to the recent blocking of  Russia's Sputnik news agency site in Turkey due to some “administrative measures” of the Turkish Telecommunications Department.

    The political scientist said that freedom of press has in fact two aspects.

    “The first is a right of a journalist to cover events, topics or situations which are of interest to the public. The journalists can’t be censured or forced to reveal their sources of information. The mass media can’t be pressured for executing this right.”

    Besides, he added, freedom for journalists to perform their professional duty is needed for a society to be aware of what is happening about them. Access to information on the life and events within a society is a natural right of its citizens.

    “The second aspect is the right of the mass media to freely comment on the ongoing events in their country. The reporters and journalists should have a right comment on the events and facts freely, and, first and foremost, on the activity of the government bodies and structures, based on their own views, opinions and accumulated professional experience,” said Tekin Okay.

    The Sputnik website was blocked in Turkey on Thursday evening, with the Turkish Telecommunications Department citing "administrative measures."

    On Friday, the Department said that it said the “case” to court and is awaiting the decision.

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    Turkey Bans Sputnik News Agency Website (25)

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