Global Freedom of Expression

12 December

Turkey: Freedom of Expression in the Dock

  • 6:00pm-8:00pm EST
  • World Room, 3rd Fl, Pulitzer Hall, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism
    116th and Broadway
    New York, New York 10027
    United States

The Turkish authorities’ relentless crackdown on freedom of expression and other
human rights in Turkey has accelerated since the failed coup attempt of July 2016.
Independent mainstream media have been all but silenced, with some 180 media
outlets closed down. 5,000 academics have been dismissed.

Turkey is now the world’s largest prison for journalists and dissenting voices. More than
40,000 people are languishing behind bars following the failed coup, including at least
170 journalists. The trials of journalists detained since the coup are ongoing whilst the
trials against 2,212 academics for signing a peace petition, 120 of which will begin in
December 2017. Turkey’s judicial system has come under extraordinary attack since the
failed coup. What judicial independence existed has been eviscerated as over 4,000
judges and prosecutors have been dismissed and replaced with political appointees.
With no expectation for fair trials at the domestic level, the European Court of Human
Rights has become the last hope for justice.

The event brings together lawyers, journalists and academic experts to explore the
current situation of press and academic freedom in Turkey, and the role of various
actors, including the international community, in restoring media freedom.

Panel Speakers

  • Sarah Clarke, International Policy and Advocacy Manager, PEN International
  • Tobias Garnett, Lawyer for Ahmet and Mehmet Altan and P24, Harvard University
  • Çağhan Kızıl, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, Research Institute on Turkey
  • Richard Winfield, International Senior Lawyers Project
  • Agnes Callamard, Director, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression (moderator)

Sponsored By: Pen International, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, ARTICLE 19, Research Institute on Turkey, International Senior Lawyers Project and Committee to Protect Journalists.

If you cannot be there in person, join us virtually!



Speaker Bios

Tobias Garnett

For the last year, Tobias has been in Istanbul representing a group of high-profile Turkish journalists, authors and newspaper editors imprisoned in Turkey following 2016’s failed coup attempt and the subsequent government crackdown. As a lawyer in the legal team at P24, a Turkish press freedom organisation, he was part of the first of over 100,000 potential post-coup applications from Turkey to be accepted for review by the European Court of Human Rights.

In addition to this legal work, he’s also been coordinating ECHR interventions from international NGOs, the Council of Europe, and the UN, and raising awareness of the attacks on free expression and the media in Turkey amongst journalists and diplomats. In October, he was awarded the Law Society of England & Wales’ Human Rights Lawyer of the Year prize for this work. Tobias is a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership and now spends his time between Istanbul and Cambridge, MA.

Sarah Clarke, International Policy and Advocacy Manager, PEN International

Sarah leads PEN’s policy and advocacy work on freedom of expression at the UN, regional human rights mechanisms and national governments. Over the last 24 months, her work has focused in particular on the legal and protection concerns of journalists from Turkey, both inside the country and in exile. She coordinated the third party interventions for a coalition of leading international NGOs in the 10 cases of journalists currently before the European Court of Human Rights and is a trial monitor for the Cumhuriyet and Altans cases. She also leads PEN’s advocacy on these cases with the Turkish authorities, key governments and at the European Parliament and Council of Europe. Alongside her work at PEN, she is also a consultant for the UNHCR and UNOHCHR on issues of human rights and forced migration. A graduate of Oxford University and Trinity College Dublin, she is currently completing her training as a barrister at the English Bar where she is an Exhibition Scholar of the Inner Temple.

Caghan Kizil, Professor of Neuroscience in Helmholtz Association, Germany, and member of Research Institute on Turkey (RIT).
Çağhan received  his B.Sc. from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey; M.Sc. from University of Göttingen, and Ph.D from Max Planck Institute Tübingen, Germany. He is currently a Professor of Neuroscience in Helmholtz Association in Germany. His research focuses on stem cells and their therapeutic use in Alzheimer’s disease. Besides his scientific publications, Çağhan also writes about academic freedom both in Turkey and abroad, and he is a member of the Research Institute on Turkey (RIT).

Richard N. Winfield, International Senior Lawyers Project

Since 2002, Richard N. Winfield has regularly taught courses in comparative mass media law and American mass media and Internet law at Columbia Law School and Fordham Law School.  He serves of counsel to Clifford Chance US LLP and co-chairs the media law reform programs of the International Senior Lawyers Project, which he co-founded in 2000.  For over three decades Mr. Winfield served as general counsel of the Associated Press (AP) while a partner in the New York law firm of Rogers & Wells, which became Clifford Chance US LLP.  There he defended AP and other media clients in many hundreds of press freedom cases in the United States and abroad.  Mr. Winfield’s articles on freedom of expression have appeared in the Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law, Communications Lawyer and other legal publications.  His book, Exporting the Matrix: The Campaign to Reform Media Laws Abroad was published in 2012.

Dr. Agnès Callamard, Director of Columbia University Global Freedom of Expression, Special Adviser to the President of Columbia University, first amendment scholar Lee Bollinger.  UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial summary or arbitrary Executions.

Columbia Global Freedom of  Expression is  an initiative seeking to advance understanding on freedom of expression global norms.

Dr. Agnès Callamard has a distinguished career in human rights and humanitarian work globally. She spent nine years as the Executive Director of ARTICLE 19, the international human rights organization promoting and defending freedom of expression and access to information globally. Under her leadership, ARTICLE 19 reach and reputation flourished earning global recognition for its cutting edge public policy thinking on diverse issues including national security, equality and development. She founded and led HAP International (the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership), which is the first self-regulatory body for humanitarian agencies at the international level. Prior to this, Dr. Callamard was Chef de Cabinet for the Secretary General of Amnesty International (AI) and AI’s Research-Policy Coordinator, leading AI’s policy work and research on women’s human rights. Agnès has advised senior levels of multilateral organizations and governments around the world and has led human rights investigations in more than 30 countries. She has published broadly in the field of human rights, women’s rights, refugee movements and accountability and holds a PhD in Political Science from the New School for Social Research in New York.