"I am the present, doomed –the one who waits for the desperateness on chimneys where smoke will be dispersed in the sky over dry land." - Vüs'at O. Bener

[Story]"Minister Throws Shoe at Protesting Journalist" | Ali Riza Arican

Minister Throws Shoe at Protesting Journalist | Yunus Kocatepe


The Interior deputy minister in charge of the press, Üzeyir Akalın held his weekly censorship meeting this morning with domestic news agency journalists. In a formal statement, he announced that the ministry is issuing a written warning to the newspaper 'Zaytung' for publishing “misleading and crowd-inciting” news. Also present and sitting next to the minister was the chief imam of Üsküdar Big Brother Mosque looking very officious in a police-crisp ironed shirt.

The minister justified this action, stating that such fictitious news could easily agitate otherwise very sensible citizens' minds, make old people desperate about their future plans and encourage young people to commit childish crimes.

It was also observed that he kept whispering in the ear of the imam wearing pitch-black glasses next to him.

“The news on two year old baby star football player upset and shattered the dreams of ambitious parents whose 18 -years-old sons failed to even enter the amateur league after many years of chasing the ball. Besides this, news about the ambassador who was sent to a little known African country and forgotten there for 20 years caused a huge uproar in the upper levels of government. According to the news, the ambassador admitted that the Ottomans committed genocide against the Armenian population during the First World War. By making such a controversial claim, he hoped to be remembered and finally be summoned back to Ankara for interrogation. Because of this, the prime minister's wife had to cancel her “Golden Coin Day” with other housewives of MUSIAD. said the minister while ignoring the increasing noise in the room.

Time after time, the minister's voice was suppressed by the protests of two journalists from the newspaper “Yearning for Censorless Press” but he kept talking: “Sometimes, news articles must have a few discrepancies so that readers are able to differentiate truth from lies. If the article does not have these sorts of inconsistencies, gullible readers who believe in every written word, may at first, have “civilized discussions”. But later on, these discussions will turn into domestic violence.”

The minister also added, “When fiction and reality are extremely tangential to each other, the writers in Zaytung must exaggerate excessively. They should exaggerate so much that the article will look very sludgy, wherever and however you grab it; it will stick to your hands. For example, the news article about newly discovered oil on the moon must be continued with a second fantasy of 'the moon is sold to BP'. Then the innocent readers will not spend their precious time and money to start excursions to the moon. Besides, if they believe BP bought the moon, they will also think that there will be no more oil leakage in the oceans and they will live a life with more hope.”

After the minister finished his speech, a short Q&A period was given to the journalists to ask their inquiries from a pre-approved list of questions.

However, the real incident started at this point. With the permission of the minister, Ali Basegmez, a journalist from the newspaper Zaytung, proceeded to defend the rights of his newspaper. Before he even began to talk, the microphone he was using was stolen by an unidentified person. Mr. Başeğmez was heard to have kept shouting “I have to defend the freedom of press even without a microphone!” When the security guards warned him one last time, he continued to voice his protest, “This nonsense must stop. You cannot treat people as if they are your children! It is time to stop the censorship in this country!”

At that moment, although he barely had time to duck the shoe the minister had thrown at him, he was not quick enough to escape the policemen who entered the press room on their roaring motorbikes. They took Mr. Başeğmez into custody, stuffing a white cloth into his mouth and tying him up as if they were trussing a pig with hundreds of knots. Then they threw him outside, down the stairs. Upon returning to the press room, they returned the shoe to the minister, only to learn that the real owner of the shoe was the imam, not the minister. They respectfully handed over the shoe to the imam.

A few hours after the incident, Mr. Başeğmez conducted a small press release in his hospital room. He said “The things that happened this morning should be published on the first pages of every newspaper but Zaytung so that the readers will be sure of what happened without thinking that this is a fabricated story.” With a cracked voice and trembling hands, he added, “I will be released from hospital this evening and after resting at home for two days, I will again start writing news which will fight against the injustice and corruption, even though they are lies. I will continue to make people laugh while encouraging them to think for the better and continue being a slap on the face of the cruel criminals.” He said “I won't stop being a deadly ghost over the people who benefit from these evil actions.” before ending his press release.

News by Umut Yok from Yearning for Censorless Press.

Translated by Ali Riza Arican

» You can read the story in Turkish from

Sayı: 50, Yayın tarihi: 13/04/2011

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