58 Turkish journalists appeared in court in October: report

A total of 58 journalists appeared at court hearings in October, while three journalists were newly charged, according to the “Cost of News” monthly report published by the Turkish Journalists’ Association (TGC).

Twenty-seven journalists were accused of membership in a terrorist organization, 11 of disseminating terrorist propaganda, seven of “violating the law on meetings and demonstrations” and four of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The prosecutors demanded 272 years, six months and 15 days of jail time in total for all the defendants and TL 200,000 in non-pecuniary damages in the cases.

In October three journalists were sentenced to a total of two years, five months and 15 days, according to the report. Ten journalists were acquitted last month, the TGC said.

The report was prepared as part 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 pluralist media and a free press as a safeguard for democracy in the country.

According to the report, four journalists have faced attacks and violence during the last month.

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

According to the Stockholm Center for Freedom’s “Jailed and Wanted Journalists in Turkey” database, 173 journalists are behind bars in Turkey and 167 are wanted and either in exile or at large.

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