Turkey's press card commission is made up of pro-government journalists - report
A commission under Turkey's presidential palace that grants press cards consists of journalists from pro-government media outlets, Cumhuriyet reported on Sunday.
The changes to the procedure required to obtain a press card come after the publication of a presidential decree on July 10, 2018, that transfers responsibility for issuing the cards from the Directorate General of Press and Information, which was affiliated with the now abolished Prime Ministry, to the Presidency Directorate of Communication.
The press card commission formed by the Directorate of Communications under the Turkish presidency is composed of representatives from Daily Sabah, Star, ATV, as well as state-owned TRT and Anadolu Agency, and the head of Anatolian Publisher's Foundation who was a deputy candidate from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2018 elections, Cumhuriyet said.
State-owned TRT and Anadolu Agency had been under harsh criticism both by opposition parties and the dissident for their sided coverage and giving most screening time to the AKP's activities during election periods.
Turkey’s record on press freedoms has been a prolonged area of concern for media watchdogs. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) placed the country 157th out of 180 countries on its World Press Freedom Index in 2018.
The RSF called Turkey the “world’s biggest jailer of journalists” in the 2018 report, noting that the AKP government had shut down dozens of media outlets in a “witch hunt” during the two-year state of emergency following the coup attempt in July 2016.