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Europe court backs Turkish reporter

Turkey violated the rights of a prominent journalist by denying her access to information into corruption allegations against four Ministers in the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the European Court of Human Rights said on Tuesday.

Turkish journalist Banu Guven brought the complaint to the ECHR, based in the French city of Strasbourg, after Turkish courts imposed a blackout on information about a parliamentary inquiry into the graft allegations.

The allegations of top-level graft, which emerged in December 2013, were seen as a major embarrassment for then Prime Minister Mr. Erdogan. Turkish authorities dismissed the claims as a plot by U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Mr. Erdogan whom Ankara accused three years later of fomenting a failed coup.

The ECHR found that the court injunction banning the dissemination of information over the inquiry had violated Ms. Guven’s rights to freedom of expression.

The injunction “had had major repercussions on the applicant’s exercise of her right to freedom of expression on a topical issue”, it found.

It “prevented Ms. Guven from enjoying a sufficient level of protection as required by the rule of law in a democratic society”, it added.

It ordered Turkey to pay Ms. Guven 1,500 euros in respect of costs and expenses.

“Press freedom has won!” tweeted Ms. Guven, welcoming the verdict.


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