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"Atylym" newspaper handed one-month publishing ban, website blocked for allegedly spreading propaganda

(BIANET/IFEX) - The "Atylym" newspaper has been handed a one-month publishing ban because it allegedly spread propaganda for the Marxist Leninist Communist Party.

An Istanbul court has decreed that the weekly "Atylym" newspaper will not be allowed to publish for one month, saying that the newspaper's coverage of statements by the Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) in its last issue amounted to propaganda for the organisation.

On 4 April 2009, the court also decided to block access to the newspaper's website,

The court said that the newspaper had "clearly committed" the crimes outlined in Articles 6/2 and 7/2 of the Anti-Terrorism Law, and cited Article 25/2 of the Press Law in its justification for forbidding publication, distribution and sales of any edition of the newspaper for one month. Article 6, which deals with the intention and seriousness of a crime, was cited as justification for blocking access to the website.

The front page headline of the last issue had referred to the local elections on 29 March, saying, "The poll boxes have collided, now it's time for the streets." In addition, Ender Bulhaz Aktürk, an alleged MLKP member who has been accused of killing a police officer in Bursa, western Turkey, was described as a "communist fighter" in a news item reporting claims that he had been tortured in detention. There were also statements concerning the analysis of election results in the last issue.

"Atylym" employers made a statement to the press at the Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD), saying that the dissident media was being put under pressure and that their newspaper had been closed unlawfully.

One employer, Kadir Aktay, said, "We will continue to hunt for the truth. This event is proof that there is zero tolerance not towards torturers but towards those who report torture." He further called on all media outlets to follow the news on the "crime against humanity" carried out in Bursa.

The press statement was supported by Özgür Radio, the Nazim Hikmet Marxist Sciences Academy, the Socialist Platform for the Oppressed (ESP), the Tekstil-Sen trade union, the Human Rights Association (IHD), the Kartal branch of the Pir Sultan Abdal Culture Association(PSAKD) and the Struggle Union.

Songül Akbay, manager of Varyos Publications, noted that press censorship, confiscations and publication bans were continuing. She argued that the socialist line of the "Atylym" newspaper was being obstructed and that the people's right to be informed was being taken from them.

Necati Abay, spokesperson for the Solidarity Platform for Arrested Journalists said, "We are face to face with typical cheap attacks. They say they have abolished censorship, but the 100-year tradition of censorship is continuing as a state policy."

Gülseren Yoleri, branch president of the IHD, said, "We need dissident media organs like we need water and bread in order to be informed." She said they would monitor the censorship and oppression that "Atylym" was facing.

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