Winners of the 2016 EU Investigative Journalism Award in Turkey shared information about the challenges they face as journalists working in an increasingly authoritarian country where media freedoms have eroded considerably.
Hilal Köse, whose comprehensive report on the murder of a minor in a correctional facility won the first prize, said although her story has changed the course of the investigation - resulting in the conviction of the victim’s two attackers and legal inquiries into several correctional officers - she has little hope for the overall conditions to improve in juvenile prisons. She said she felt most deputies in Parliament didn’t regard abuse at juvenile detention centers and prisons as a priority issue, adding: “Politics in Turkey is very much centered on Ankara, on the Presidential Palace.”
Arda Akın, second prize winner for his reporting on the illicit activities of Turkish-Azerbaijani businessman Reza Zarrab, said he has had to face two court cases, including one from the businessman himself, for his reporting. Akın noted that the award has been a great source of motivation for him and he will continue to report on corruption in the country.
Canan Coşkun, winner of the young journalist prize said she had to rush to the award ceremony as she had to be in court earlier in the day, facing more than 20 years in prison over another news story by her. Coşkun said that the report that won her the prize - which documented that the Turkish government ordering opposition channels to be taken off the TURKSAT satellite platform had no legal basis - is important in showing the extent of the government’s intolerance for free speech and dissenting opinions.