Some 17 journalists in Turkey were killed by twin earthquakes that rocked the country’s south on February 6, while reporters that survived in disaster areas do not have essential equipment and face government attacks when they point out state institutions’ failures, veteran journalist Faruk Bildirici wrote on Monday.
Reporters flocking to 10 province in the earthquake area suffered from the same conditions the victims were facing. They were stranded in closed and destroyed roads, had to cope with freezing cold and security issues, without receiving necessary logistic support and equipment from their outlets.
“Journalists that shared their observations without censoring themselves faced accusations of provocation and pressure. Such interventions escalated after the state of emergency was declared; the reporting of journalists that do not have press cards or permission from governors’ offices were prevented; some were attacked, some were investigated, some were detained,” Bildirici wrote.
Bildirici said one of the main jobs of journalists reporting from disaster areas was to question figures announced by state institutions. The current disaster proved the importance of such efforts, according to Bildirici, as criticisms of the journalists have helped disaster relief work to speed up after three days of state incompetence.
Yet, even journalists working in pro-government outlets, when they expressed their criticism, have to counter attacks. In such rare instances, Dilate Gender, a presenter of Show TV, said in a fury that it was not nature but those who approve the construction of weak building that were responsible for the large scale destruction. Gönder had to resign from his position a day after.