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FRANCE / TURKEY29 January 2003

Reporters without Borders wins court case against ex-army chief

Reporters Without Borders welcomed today’s decision by a Paris court dismissing a lawsuit against its secretary-general, Robert Ménard, by former Turkish army chief Gen. Hüseyin Kivrikoglu for using his picture without permission. Kivrikoglu was ordered to pay 2,000 euros in damages as well as the costs of the action.

The organisation’s lawyer, Jean Martin, said the court had in effect found the general guilty of attacking Reporters Without Borders’ right to free expression.

The court ruled that he should have sued for defamation, not simply for unauthorised use of his picture, an offence that falls outside the French press law and therefore provides less protection for the defendant.

Gen. Kivrikoglu sued Reporters Without Borders after his picture appeared along with 37 other "predators of press freedom" in an exhibition the organisation staged last May in the main hall of the St. Lazare railway station in Paris. The pictures were pinned to a giant map of the world. His inclusion sparked incidents during a protest by his supporters at the exhibition and also strong reaction in Turkey.

Despite democratic reforms begun in Turkey with the aim of winning membership of the European Union, press freedom there is still limited in many ways . Journalists daring to criticise state institutions or raising taboo subjects such as the Kurdish problem or the role of the army in political life are censored, prosecuted and given heavy penalties. Six journalists are currently imprisoned for expressing opinions in the course of their work.

  In this country
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in the annual report
Turkey - Annual Report 2008
Turkey - Annual report 2007
Turkey - 2006 Annual report
In this country
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up
12 May - France
TV reporter cleared of inciting teenager in body piercing “suspension”
2 April - France
“Dangerous trend” condemned after anti-crime unit questions four journalists over Sarkozy video
26 March - France
Two website journalists summoned for questioning about Sarkozy video
4 March - France
Anger over new case of journalists being treated as “police auxiliaries or even criminals”

in the annual report
France - Annual Report 2008
France - Annual report 2007
France - 2006 Annual report

Europe press releases
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Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
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Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
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5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
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27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison

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