Turkish Supreme Court rules blocking access to news reports violates freedoms

Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday that blocking access to news reports violates the rights of freedom of expression and the freedom of press, T24 news site reported

Two journalists working for Cumhuriyet newspaper, reporter Miyase İlknur and the daily’s digital edition’s former editor-in-chief Oğuz Güven, filed a complaint to the Constitutional Court about a news report blocked by Turkish authorities.

The news report concerned new luxury apartments in Istanbul allegedly sold cheaply to leading members of the ruling Justice and Development Party, including the governor of Istanbul province.

Hüseyin Avni Coş, then governor of Istanbul, complained the news report violated his rights and requested it to be removed from Cumhuriyet’s website.

“It is unquestionable that the news report is about the use of public resources and therefore has a high informational value. It is beyond doubt that allegations about the governor of the city included in the news report contributed to open a discussion that has a high public benefit,” the Constitutional Court said in its verdict.

The court also said the content of the report did not provide sufficient grounds for blocking online access and that the decision by authorities to remove the content violated the constitution’s articles on freedom of expression and press freedom.

The court also ruled that compensation should be paid to the journalists who filed the complaint.