Strasbourg, 5 February 2013 - Delivering the opening speech of the conference on freedom of expression and media in Turkey, Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, whilst recognising that some progress has been achieved, stressed the need for action to bring Turkish legislation in line with Council of Europe standards.
"There are still 450 cases pending against Turkey in the field of freedom of expression. This is simply too much", he said, referring to the latest statistics of the ECHR. "What is needed is a complete overhaul of the anti-terrorism law as well as amendments to the Criminal Code", he added. "Politicians should accept that their words and actions are open to a higher degree of scrutiny by both journalists and the public at large", Jagland insisted, referring to defamation cases that can have "a chilling effect" on freedom of expression and media.