A decision by Turkey’s state-run Press Advertising Authority (BİK) announced on Saturday could result in 1,200 newspaper employees losing their jobs amid a currency crisis in the country, according to a report by the Cumhuriyet daily.
The decision of the agency to decrease the minimum number of workers at a newspaper from seven to six was published on Saturday in the Official Gazette.
The agency, responsible for allocating ads in newspapers, said the decision was a precautionary measure as the price of paper had surged amid an ongoing financial crisis, which has spelled trouble for print publications.
Meanwhile, Sözcü daily reported on Monday that the Turkish Official Gazette will no longer be in print and will only be available digitally. The decision by the 98-year-publication to no longer print follows a slide in daily circulation from 8,000 to 2,000 in recent months.
Established on Oct. 7, 1920, the Official Gazette published its first issue on Feb. 7, 1921; the paper has repositioned its 130 staff members in various other print publications as of Sept. 14, Sözcü reported.
Turkey, which imports most of its paper, has witnessed paper prices triple this year due to the Turkish lira’s 40 percent loss of value against the US dollar.
Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.
Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 236 journalists and media workers were in jail as of Sept. 13, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 168 were under arrest pending trial while only 68 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 147 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.
Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after the coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.