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FRANCE / TURKEY6 December 2002

Turkish legal action against Reporters Without Borders

A lawsuit filed against Reporters Without Borders by Turkey’s former armed forces chief, Gen. Hüseyin Kivrikoglu, for using his photograph without permission will be heard on 11 December by the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris.

Reporters Without Borders invites journalists to attend the hearing by the 2nd section of the court’s 17th division (chambre) at 2.30 p.m.

At a time when Turkey is determined to adopt democratic and human rights reforms needed to win membership of the European Union, Reporters Without Borders is being sued by Gen. Kivrikoglu and may be ordered to pay _100,000 in damages.

The lawsuit is the result of including his picture in a public exhibition this year of 38 "predators of press freedom" around the world listed by the organisation.

Each year, on World Press Freedom Day (3 May), Reporters Without Borders puts a face to those who violate press freedom. This year, pictures of the "predators" were pinned to a giant map of the world on the floor of the main hall of the St. Lazare station in Paris. Demonstrators protested against Kivrikoglu’s picture being among them and there was strong reaction to it in Turkey.

Reporters Without Borders defends press freedom in a systematic and impartial manner, without regard to who the violator is. It monitors press freedom in Turkey in exactly the same way it does on a daily basis in other countries.

More than 50 journalists were tried by Turkish courts last year for what they had written. Despite promised democratic reforms, the situation has not significantly improved this year. Four journalists are currently in prison for putting out material and publications considered by the authorities as threats to public order of national unity. Journalists who dare to mention taboo subjects such as the power of the army, the Kurdish problem and the demands of Islamic fundamentalists, are constantly harassed.

For more information: Reporters Without Borders (Europe desk), 5 rue Geoffroy-Marie, 75009 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 4483-8484 / Fax: +33 (0)1 4523-1151 E-mail: europe@rsf.org




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