Turkey violated the rights of a prominent journalist by denying her access to information on corruption allegations against four ministers in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, the European Court of Human Rights said on Tuesday.
Turkish journalist Banu Guven lodged a complaint with the ECHR, based in the French city of Strasbourg, after Turkish courts imposed a blackout on information regarding a parliamentary investigation into the corruption allegations.
Allegations of corruption at the highest level, which emerged in December 2013, were seen as a major embarrassment for then Prime Minister Erdogan. Turkish authorities have dismissed the allegations as a plot by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Mr. Erdogan whom Ankara accused three years later of plotting a failed coup.
The ECHR ruled that the court’s injunction prohibiting the dissemination of information during the investigation violated Ms Guven’s rights to freedom of expression.
The injunction “had had significant repercussions on the applicant’s exercise of her right to freedom of expression on a topical issue”, she concluded.
It “prevented Ms. Guven from benefiting from a sufficient level of protection as required by the rule of law in a democratic society,” he added.
It ordered Turkey to pay Ms Guven 1,500 euros in costs and expenses.
“Freedom of the press won!” Ms Guven tweeted, welcoming the verdict.