The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), joined by the groups listed below, calls on the Turkish government to immediately release French photographer, Mathias Depardon, who has been held in a detention center since May 8, on suspicion of “propaganda for a terrorist organization.” Even though those charges have been dropped Depardon, who was on assignment for National Geographic, remains in custody where he began a hunger strike on May 21.
This is but one of a recent spate of incidents in what appears to be an open season on journalists here and abroad. Whether it be the many Mexican and Russian reporters killed this year, U.S. journalists interfered with, physically attacked, or arrested for asking questions or members of the press being barred from covering matters of public concern – the leaders of all countries must loudly and unequivocally condemn such actions.
The Macbethian portent “fair is foul and foul is fair” is becoming all too real as we witness a return to the dark ages where instead of leading by example in support of free speech and a free press far too many politicians are branding journalists as “enemies of the people” and factual reporting as “fake news.”
Although nowhere near as egregious as murder, assault and arrest, the fact that a United States Senator recently gaveled a subcommittee meeting to order while telling news photographers “back in your cages” is but another example of the climate of contempt toward the press that now pervades our society.
During a Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press dinner this week, it was noted that "freedom of the press is not a liberal value but an American value." In a time of technology and terror we take that one step further as one which should be vigilantly upheld throughout the world. As Benjamin Franklin so pointedly stated, “he who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.”
To that end, we renew our call to Turkey to immediately release Mathias Depardon. for all governments to reaffirm their commitment to a free, vibrant and independent press and for citizens to let their leaders know that these fundamental rights must be vigorously preserved, protected and defended.
Mickey H. Osterreicher
National Press Photographers Association
National Press Club
Radio Television Digital News Association
National Press Club Journalism Institute
National Geographic Partners
Editor in Chief, National Geographic Magazine
North America Director
Reporters Without Borders
Director of Photography
National Geographic Magazine
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Society of Professional Journalists
Since its founding in 1946, the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) has been the Voice of Visual Journalists. NPPA is a 501(c)(6) non-profit professional organization dedicated to the advancement of visual journalism, its creation, editing and distribution in all news media. NPPA encourages visual journalists to reflect the highest standards of quality and ethics in their professional performance, in their business practices and in their comportment. NPPA vigorously advocates for and protects the Constitutional rights of journalists as well as freedom of the press and speech in all its forms, especially as it relates to visual journalism. Its approximately 6,000 members include still and television photographers, editors, students, and representatives of businesses serving the visual journalism community. For more information, please contact: Mickey H. Osterreicher 716.983.7800 [email protected] or go to www.nppa.org