January 10 has been celebrated in Turkey as the Festival of Working Journalists between 1961-1971. The day has been renamed as “January 10 Working Journalists’ Day” in 1971 after several rights of the journalists have been revoked by Military Coup Council.On January 4, 1961 the legislation regulating the rights of journalists under the Bill 212 has been published in the Official Gazette allowing certain rights and legal protection to journalists in Turkey. The week following, on January 10 became the Festival of Working Journalists in commemoration of journalists’ solidarity that emerged out of this legislation.
Nine media owners who reacted against the obligations and liability that emerged with the Bill 212 had protested the “Press Bill” and refused to print newspapers for three days. Journalists who refused to be silenced by media owners’ decision, agreed to print their own newspaper. On January 10 journalists staged a rally to reclaim their rights and press freedom, printed their own newspaper under the title of PRESS (BASIN) on January 11, 12, 13, 1961.
January 10 had been observed as the Festival of Working Journalists for the following decade until March 12, 1971 military coup. The coup council renamed the day as January 10 Working Journalists’ Day.
On Working Journalists’ Day, many journalists have shared messages on social media with a hashtag that said “We are not celebrating” reminding everyone over 150 journalists in prison and thousands of journalists who have been disemployed due to political pressure.