Journalist Tolga Şardan: 'Any outrage is not due to my report but my arrest'

Journalist Tolga Şardan: 'Any outrage is not due to my report but my arrest'

Journalist Tolga Şardan appeared in court facing charges related to his article on a judicial report presented by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to the Presidency. The prosecutor requested that Şardan be punished for "publicly disseminating misleading information" and "publicly denigrating the state’s judicial organs" during the initial hearing.

Şardan was detained on November 1, 2023, following the publication of his article titled "What's in the 'judicial report' presented by MİT to the Presidency?" on T24 news website on October 31, 2023. He was released on November 6, 2023.

Present at the hearing in the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance were Şardan and his lawyers Özlem Günel Tekşen and Mustafa Gökhan Tekşen, as well as representatives from MLSA, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Turkish Journalists' Union (TGS), and the Turkish Journalists' Association (TGC).

'I stand by my report, it is not false'

During the hearing, Şardan stated, "I have been a journalist since 1988, specializing in police and gendarmerie news. I understand how the state functions and consider myself an experienced journalist in these matters. I stand by my report; it is not false. No journalist would sign off on a false or misleading report. Throughout my career, I have never authored a false report."

Explaining that his article addressed two parties, the Presidency and MİT, Şardan clarified, "The document from MİT was an information note, not a report. Many people have been aware of the judiciary's situation for a long time. Shortly before my report, Prosecutor İsmail Uçar’s letter also came to light, resulting in the dismissal of two individuals mentioned, a fact that was not denied."

Şardan continued his defense, asserting that his report did not incite any public disturbance, "If there is any outrage, it is related to my arrest, not my article. I reject the accusations and request acquittal."

Prosecutor seeks conviction in first hearing

Şardan’s lawyer, Mustafa Gökhan Tekşen, argued that the elements of the alleged crimes were not present and that Şardan’s actions constituted journalistic activity. He requested the court to acquit his client.

The prosecutor, in the opinion presented, claimed that the statements in Şardan's article about "corruption in the judiciary" constituted "publicly denigrating the state’s judicial organs." The prosecutor also argued that the article’s mention of a "judicial report" prepared by MİT implied certainty without evidence in the investigation file.

The prosecutor asserted that the legal elements of "publicly disseminating misleading information" were present, and that statements about unlawful and irregular practices within the judiciary collectively defamed the judicial system, thereby requesting Şardan’s conviction on both charges.

The court accepted the defense's request for additional time to respond to the prosecutor’s opinion and postponed the hearing to December 17.


Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) haber alma hakkı, ifade özgürlüğü ve basın özgürlüğü alanlarında faaliyet yürüten bir sivil toplum kuruluşudur. Derneğimiz başta gazeteciler olmak üzere mesleki faaliyetleri sebebiyle yargılanan kişilere hukuki destek vermektedir.