Friday, March 27, 2015

Blog 6: Cartoonists convicted for insulting Turkey's President

Two cartoonist in Italy were sentenced to o 11 months and 20 days in prison for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.However, shortly after court, their jail sentence was changed to a fine of 7,000 Turkish lira or about $2,700 american dollars each .Cartoonists Bahadir Baruter and Ozer Aydogan draw for a weekly magazine known as Penguen. A lawsuit was formed against an August cover of Penguen in which a cartoon figure of Erdogan is welcomed to the presidential palace by a public servant. Turkeys public prosecutor lead an investigation against the cartoon, claiming claiming that both the speech bubbles and the "hand drawing" insulted Erdogan. The cartoon apparently had an employee making a hand-gester, suggesting that the Erdogan president is gay, While the court ruled in favor of Erdogan, it is unclear whether the judge sees the speech bubbles or the gay hand gesture as a direct insult. This ruling adds to an increase of criminal cases against people are for defamation against a public officer. In 2014, Turkey was ranked of the world's worst jailers of journalists The Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, Nils Mui┼żnieks, called this sentence is misguided and also sends a a chilling message to media professionals and all those who want to exercise their right to free expression. Ann Harrison of freedom of press advocacy group PEN International told CNN that their group have  called for decriminalization of defamation, particularly of state officials, as to criminalize criticism of authorities severely stifles reporting and public debate. She also said that  special mandates from the United Nations, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and Organization of American States have called for the abashment of criminal defamation laws.

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