Burundi, Libya, Nigeria, Afghanistan, South China Sea, Ukraine, Iraq, Palestine, Syria,
Noticed and Noted
The authoritarian resident of cumhurbaşkanlığı külliyesi takes everything personal
German regional NDR Fernsehen of Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) televised its “extra 3” political satire magazine on 17 March
and its 2-minute feature lampooned violations of press freedom, criminalizing personal opinion, and disregard for women in a humorous adaptation of a popular
1948 song changed to Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan. One popular rhyme was
A journalist who writes something that does not suit Erdogan
By tomorrow he is in the can.
When Turkey called in the German ambassador to protest and demand removal of the offending piece, the official statement from
the German Federal Government set a different tone. Even before, on 4 March, the Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had called on Turkey to refrain from intimidating the media. The European Commission too stated that Turkey was out of touch with
The Deputy Spokeswoman of the Federal Government stated on 30 March that “Press freedom is non-negotiable for the German government.” That includes political satire. Television programs like the one Turkey is complaining
about are “an integral part of Germany’s media landscape,” she added. In Germany, political satire is protected under press freedom and freedom of expression.
The video that Turkey is criticising gave neither cause nor opportunity for the government to take action. Earlier, German officials expressed regret that Turkey which has applied for admission to the European Union (EU) is widening its distance to EU instead of closing it.
The Federal Foreign Minister said
“I think we can expect a partner nation of the European Union to share our common European values.” Besides the freedom
of expression and press freedom, those European values “of course include artistic freedom, insofar as we are talking about satire here,” he added.
Germany’s Ambassador to Turkey had previously made it clear to Turkish officials that basic freedoms such as the freedom of expression and of the press were
valuable commodities that we must all protect together.
Federal Press Office
Berlin, 31 March 2016
Act and think Chinese, says party
Communist Party of China (CPC) is renewing its efforts to keep its Tibetan and Uyghur ethnic members
pure, i.e., they must act and think Chinese. In early November, the Secretary of the CPC Autonomous
Regional Committee in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) instructed cadres to seek out those who
not to be religious but follow the 14th Dalai Lama and even send their children and
relatives to schools run
by him, wrote The New York Times. On 4 December, an article published on China Tibet Online revealed
that the same push for ideological and Chinese purity is pursued in the
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
While the party reports an increase in the number of party
members, there are indications that the Beijing-
directed campaign is alienating
some members and inciting ethnic hatred among the population.
Government interference with Constitutional Court and public broadcasting
Leaders of the European Union (EU) and several states and a substantial number of Poles are criticizing and deploring steps being
taken by government and Sejm which are undermining constitutional order, rule of law and are now threatening free speech and freedom of the press.
Keeping in mind when assessing the threat or significance, one isolated incident could be seen as an aberration or exception. When
similar developments continue, action is called for.
When the new president was elected in May [p. 6943], his affiliation with the populist, nationalistic, conservative Law and
Justice (PiS) party gave some cause for unease because of views of its leader and known attitudes by associates against Jews, Muslims, refugees and the EU. But
to demonstrate his impartiality, the president resigned from his party.
The PiS took office on 16 November and in rapid succession two symptomatic events showed that apprehension about its course was not premature. In the
next six weeks, the Constitutional Court was severely weakened if not sidelined and made impotent and under the guise of opening public media to Polish values
and views (as determined by the government) adopted a public media reform law.
The European Commission after warning Warsaw against tampering with the court and interfering with independent broadcasting without success is
considering stronger measures. The EU rarely interferes with national decisions but in the past it temporarily suspended Austria and has forced Hungary to
retreat on some of its policies.
Elections in Poland were held on 25 October for the 460-seat Diet and the 100-seat Senate in which 50.9 percent of registered
voters participated. The former opposition national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party won a slim single majority in the lower house moving the former
governing Civic Platform (PO) to second place and losing almost half of its mandates in the Senate. [p. 7137] PiS is led by Dr. Jarosław Aleksander Kaczyński
(born 18 June 1949), lawyer and one-time prime minister (2006-2007). He has made negative remarks about Jews and
migrants and resents close links to the European Union. In the past he has advocated creation of a 4th Polish Republic and adoption of a new
constitution creating a strong presidential system of government. Kaczyński is the power behind president and prime minister, according to press reports, and he
supports his hardline ministers or “hawks” on lessening EU and foreign influences, boosting defense against Russia, and removing courts from threatening
government actions and policies.
17 Nov. The president, before a court could rule on an appeal, pardoned a former
Kaczyński cabinet minister who was sentenced to three years in jail for allegedly contributing to corruption in 2007 when he headed the anti-corruption office
and which caused the government to collapse.
17 Nov. Resignations of four heads of intelligence services of the former government are accepted.
19 Nov. The appointment of five judges of the Constitutional Court by the previous legislature is
annulled by the Sejm, an action that is reserved for the Court. The legislature passed an amendment
authorizing proposal and appointment of replacements.
24 Nov. The European Union (EU) flag is removed from the prime minister’s weekly press conference to demonstrate
patriotism and cooling relations with the EU.
18 Dec. Defense ministry officials and military police stormed a NATO counterintelligence center in Warsaw
during the night and dismissed its head and staff to place the enter under its control.
22 Dec. Sejm by a vote of 235 against 181 and 4 abstentions approved a change of law requiring that in most cases 13 rather than 9 of the 15 judges of
the Constitutional Court must be present and that decisions must be reached by a two-thirds majority. (The Constitution provides for a single majority). The
President of the European Parliament characterized the country’s political situation as a “coup,” a remark for which the prime minister demanded an apology,
23 Dec. The First Vice President of the European Commission (EC) wrote to the foreign and justice ministers urging the government not to adopt the new
Constitutional Court measure since it would undermine the court.
28 Dec. President signed Constitutional Court bill into law.
30 Dec. Sejm by a vote of 232 against 152 and 34 abstentions passed a bill on reform of public media. To convert public radio and television stations
into “cultural institutes,” the tenure of all members of supervisory and boards of directors of stations are terminated and the National Radio and TV Council (KRRiT) will no longer select broadcasting heads. Future appointments and dismissals, will be the
responsibility of the minister of finance and the number of independent members of boards will be limited.