102 journalists appeared in court, 10 sentenced to prison in 3 months: report

One hundred two journalists appeared at hearings in their trials in Turkey from July to September, and 10 of them were sentenced to a total of 39 years, 11 months in prison, according to a report by the Expression Interrupted project.

Of the 52 hearings that took place during the three-month period, 39 involved terrorism-related charges. In 21 cases the journalists were accused of membership in a terrorist organization; of disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization in 15 of the cases; and of abetting a terrorist organization in three of them.

The report is based on data obtained from trials and media monitoring work carried out by Expression Interrupted.

In 10 of the trials, journalists are accused of libeling public officials and insulting the president in five. The remainder of the cases involve charges of insulting the Turkish nation and government institutions and violating the law on meetings and demonstrations.

During the same period 13 new cases were brought against 16 journalists. Fifty-one journalists were either attacked or physically prevented from covering news stories by police or civilians. The report said it has been almost impossible to follow demonstrations in recent months.

Seven journalists — Ufuk Şanlı, Seyid Kılıç, Mehmet Güleş, Fahri Öztoprak, Oğuz Usluer, Emre Soncan and Fethi Altun — were released from prison after serving their sentences for membership in a terrorist organization.

Turkey was ranked 153rd among 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in April.

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