New York Times uses anonymous bylines in Turkey

Turkey currently ranks 151st out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders ranking of press freedom around the world

Jon Sharman
Tuesday 03 January 2017 13:41 GMT
The New York Times, New York, USA
The New York Times, New York, USA

The New York Times appears to have stopped naming its reporters in Turkey following the Istanbul nightclub attack.

A story about the New Year's Day massacre featured the byline "An Employee of the New York Times" in place of a reporter's name.

A number of other articles filed from the country were similarly bylined.

It comes after a series of reports about journalists being arrested in the country, along with judges, military personnel and teachers.

In many cases authorities have claimed those detained are linked to terrorism or an attempted coup in the country last year.

On New Year's Eve, the Wall Street Journal said its reporter Dion Nissenbaum had been detained by Turkish authorities for two-and-a-half days without access to a lawyer, before being released.

Ebru Umar, a columnist for the Dutch Metro newspaper, was detained for questioning after allegedly insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in April.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, an American non-profit group, said that as 2016 drew to a close, police detained 45 former employees of the state outlet Turkish Radio and a court formally arrested 29 of them.

Turkey currently ranks 151st out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' ranking of press freedom around the world.

The disguised byline

The country's government regularly bans in-country coverage of terror attacks and other events.

In November courts ordered a blackout on reporting the arrests of nine staff members at the Cumhuriyet newspaper, including the editor.

It is unclear what prompted the bylines in the Times and the revered newspaper had not responded to a request for comment from The Independent at the time of publication.

The decision nonetheless prompted debate among media experts.

Conservative pundit Michelle Malkin claimed the move was the "byline version of pixelating Mohammed".

But Politico magazine editor Blake Hounsell said: "It’s the byline version of not getting someone killed or arrested."

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