One hundred fifteen journalists were subjected to physical violence in Turkey last year, and three out of every five journalists have received threats during their career, a report recently released by the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) shows, revealing the growing pressure on journalists in Turkey.
A total of 241 journalists appeared in court last year, the report said, emphasizing that there were at least 44 journalists behind bars in Turkey as of the end of 2021.
The Media Monitoring Report on Turkey for 2021 was prepared within the scope of the Media for Democracy/Democracy for Media Project, which was established by the association and funded by the European Union. It aims to strengthen a pluralist media and a free press as a safeguard for democracy in the country.
Seventy-three journalists were detained last year, and local radio presenter Hazım Özsu was killed, the TGC said.
According to the report, some 50 percent of all journalists do not have press cards. Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate had canceled the credentials of 894 journalists in 2020.
Official advertising bans, administrative fines and broadcast bans issued by Turkey’s Press Advertising Authority (BİK) and the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) had a significant economic impact on opposition news outlets in 2021, the report said, noting that television channels Halk TV, Tele 1, KRT, Fox TV and Habertürk were fined 23.7 million lira.
Turkey’s political prisoners include tens of thousands who have been imprisoned on terror-related charges as part of a crackdown launched by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the aftermath of an attempted coup in 2016, although they did not engage in any criminal activity and were only critical of the government.
Turkey is one of the world’s biggest jailers of professional journalists and was ranked 153rd among 180 countries in terms of press freedom in 2021, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Most recently journalists Ertuş Bozkurt and Mikail Barut were detained in police raids on their homes in southeastern Diyarbakir province.
Bozkurt was a reporter for the Kurdish-language Azadiya Welat daily, shut down by the government in 2016, while Barut worked for the also-shuttered Free People Magazine (Özgür Halk Dergisi). Accusations against the journalists have not yet been disclosed; however, they were taken in for questioning by the counterterrorism bureau of the Diyarbakir Police Department.