|October 18, 2012|
|Turkey Press Crackdown Puts Focus on PR|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|The Committee to Protect Journalists will release a special report Oct. 22 on Turkey’s “mass imprisonment and repression of journalists,” mostly working in the country’s Kurdish press. It’s bound to get a lot of coverage.|
That NATO member has moved into the spotlight as death and violence tear apart the fabric of neighboring Syria, sending more than 100K refugees into Turkey. Turkey and Syria have exchanged artillery fire. The PKK separatist group has warned retaliation against Turkey if its forces invade the Kurdish region of Syria.
|Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey in August.|
CPJ says its report will reveal the “record-high imprisonment of reporters” and explore the tactics used by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government to repress critical information in print and online.
The watchdog worries that the widespread effort to criminalize hard-hitting reporting triggers self-censorship at a time of tension in the region. That concern extends to outlets like CNN Turk, which—according to CPJ’s website—imposes a policy of “editorial filtering” and has enlisted in the “coalition of the willing,” acting submissively to the government and security bureaucracy.
Dick Gephardt’s Gephardt Group Government Affairs and Fleishman-Hillard do PR work for Turkey.
The firm of the former Missouri Democratic Congressman and Presidential candidate renewed a one-year contract effective Aug. 1. It presses for legislative action and other U.S. government activities to “promote Turkey’s interests and provide a positive image of Turks, Turkey and the U.S.-Turkey relationship,” according to GGAA’s contract. The firm also scouts for speaking arrangements for Embassy staffers to “improve Turkey’s image and advance its causes on Capitol Hill." GGGA’s contract is pegged at $1.4M, $800K of that amount is allocated to three subcontractors.
F-H received $537,468 from Turkey’s Embassy for the six-month period ended April 30. The Omnicom unit reviewed and edited speeches of Namik Tan, Turkey’s Ambassador to the U.S.; compiled media reports about Syria, and worked social media channels (Facebook, Vimeo and Twitter.
Both firms will be busy next week.
(Photo: State Dept.)
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