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Turkish reporter's rights 'violated' with ban: Europe court

Turkish journalist Banu Guven brought the complaint to the ECHR in Strasbourg [

Date of publication: 4 May, 2021

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Europe's top rights court found that a ban on information about a parliamentary inquiry into graft allegations violated Banu Guven's rights to freedom of expression.

The European Court of Human Rights alleged on Tuesday that the rights of a prominent journalist were violated by being denied access to information into corruption allegations against four Turkish ministers.

Turkish journalist Banu Guven brought the complaint to the ECHR, based in the French city of Strasbourg, after a blackout was imposed on information about a parliamentary inquiry into the graft allegations.

The allegations of top-level graft, which emerged in December 2013, were seen by some as a blow to then prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkish authorities dismissed the claims as a plot by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara accused three years later of fomenting a failed coup.

The ECHR found that a court injunction banning the dissemination of information over the inquiry had violated Guven's rights to freedom of expression.

The injuction "prevented Ms Guven from enjoying a sufficient level of protection as required by the rule of law in a democratic society," the ECHR said.

It ordered Turkey to pay Guven 1,500 euros ($1,800) in respect of costs and expenses. Guven welcomed the verdict on Twitter, writing: "Press freedom has won!”.

The reporter was a longstanding presenter on Turkish news channel NTV until 2011. She then joined IMC TV until the pro-opposition outlet was shut down in 2016.

Read also: Turkey tries 108 Kurdish politicians over deadly 2014 protests against army's IS response

The ECHR has in recent months issued a string of rulings against Turkey, urging that Ankara release jailed Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas and opposition philanthropist Osman Kavala. Both remain behind bars.

Turkey has ranked 154 out of 180 countries in the RDF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index. Journalists in the country have been arrested while opposition media outlets have been made to shut down in recent years or been taken to court.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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