Turkey: Court bans reports on intelligence data collection, penguins printed in protest

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News,
Monday,June 17 2013

A local court has banned reporting and broadcasting of claims that the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had collected and filed data on companies owned by businessmen close to opposition parties, with the aim of stopping them from bidding in public tenders.

On Sunday, Taraf came out with a front page that included photos of penguins.....a reference to a documentary Turkish mainstream TV network CNN Türk controversially broadcast about penguins while protests were growing in Taksim on Friday and Saturday.

On Sunday, Taraf came out with a front page that included photos of penguins…..a reference to a documentary Turkish mainstream TV network CNN Türk broadcast about penguins while protests were growing in Taksim on Friday and Saturday.

The Ankara 2nd Magistrate Court decided on the ban June 14, according to a demand from the Ankara Prosecutor’s Office, which acted following a complaint from MİT itself.

Daily Taraf claimed on June 13-14 that MİT had “illegally” collected data and kept records about the political tendencies of a number of businessmen, regarding their affiliation with the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The court ruling stated that the reports were “targeting the institution” and could not be republished or broadcast in any other print or electronic media, including the paper itself.

MİT, which reports directly to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, declined to make any comment on the Taraf stories when they were printed.

Taraf allocated its front page to the court decision on June 16, showing a picture of a number of penguins in protest at the ruling. Penguins have become the symbol of Turkish mainstream media’s slowness in reporting the Taksim protests, after a prominent news channel broadcast a documentary on the antarctic animals at the same time as mass protests and police interventions were taking place. Taraf also opened a Twitter and Facebook account asking readers to “vote” on whether to carry on the claims about MİT despite the court decision, echoing the government’s recent decision to offer a potential referendum on the future of Taksim’s Gezi Park.

June/17/2013

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