‘Amendment to press law will punish informants of coups’

June 04, 2012, Monday/ 13:16:00

The president of the Law and Life Association, lawyer Mehmet Kasap, has expressed concerns that a new judicial package, including an article seeking to penalize journalists who report on covert voice recordings later posted online, will work in favor of juntas and punish coup informants like Samet Kuşçu.

Maj. Kuşçu had tried to inform the state of preparations ahead of the bloody 1960 coup but was instead tried by a military court, along with the eight officers he had accused of plotting to overthrow the Democrat Party (DP) government of the time.

Last week it was reported that the Ministry of Justice is planning to add an article to the new judicial package making it possible to penalize journalists who report on such voice recordings. In Turkey, it is common to hear recordings featuring the voices of senior military officers or bureaucrats expressing their views about political and military-related issues.

Kasap said the release of private conversations is a violation of privacy, and those who record and disseminate them should be punished. However, it does not comply with the principle of freedom of the press to punish journalists who report on these recordings after they are released into the public arena, and when they concern matters of relevance to the public.

“In its current format, the law will not punish members of the junta but people like Samet Kuşçu who inform the authorities about the activities of the junta,” Kasap said.

He also noted that just as there are limits to every human freedom there are limits to freedom of the press, but added that these limits should not render journalists unable to perform their jobs.

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