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U.S. confused by lack of press freedom in Turkey

Last week Turkey arrested four journalists suspected of links to the ultranationalist Ergenekon organization, which is accused of plotting to force a military coup against the ruling AK Party.

U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone responded to the arrests by stressing the importance of freedom of the press:

Journalists are being detained on the one hand, while addresses about freedom of the speech are given on the other. We do not understand this.”

In the interest of adding to the ambassador’s confusion, I am submitting the following two recent news excerpts on the subject of press freedom. The first is from an article in The Guardian about the possible true identity of “Raymond Davis,” the American contractor who murdered between two and three people in Pakistan at the end of last month. The second is from the introduction to a Democracy Now! interview with American journalist Brandon Jourdan.

1. “A number of US media outlets learned about Davis’s CIA role but have kept it under wraps at the request of the Obama administration. A Colorado television station, 9NEWS, made a connection after speaking to Davis’s wife. She referred its inquiries to a number in Washington which turned out to be the CIA. The station removed the CIA reference from its website at the request of the US government.”

2. “Independent journalist Brandon Jourdan recently returned from Haiti after being on assignment documenting the rebuilding of schools in the earthquake-devastated country. However, when he returned to the United States, he was immediately detained after deboarding the plane by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. He was questioned about his travels and had all of his documents, computer, phone and camera flash drives searched and copied. This is the seventh time Jourdan says he has been subjected to lengthy searches in five years, and has been told by officials that he is ‘on a list.’”

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