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Another newspaper suspended for remainder of election campaign

(BIANET/IFEX) - After the "Gündem" newspaper was closed for 15 days for "spreading terrorist propaganda", a court in Istanbul has decided to close the "Güncel" newspaper, which it sees as the continuation of "Gündem", for 12 days. Mehmet Samur, the editor-in-chief of "Güncel", said: "Only the company was the same. This is election censorship."

"Gündem" was closed on 15 July 2007 for an article on pre-election opinions in Batman, a province in south-east Turkey, published on 12 July and entitled: "The Batman Message: Stand by the Guerrillas" (see IFEX alert of 16 July 2007).

Samur, quoted in the daily "Evrensel", referred to the closure of "Güncel" as "election censorship". The newspaper will be closed until 28 July, six days after general elections take place.

Samur argued that there was no legal basis for the closure. The fact that "Gündem" and "Güncel" are published by the same company does not imply a relationship of continuity. Major media groups, he argued, were not treated in this way.

He added that the decision was illegal and antidemocratic, and that the authorities "want to silence the Kurdish and the oppositional press".

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