73 journalists appeared in court in 3rd quarter, 68 remain behind bars: report

A total of 73 journalists appeared in court in 51 trials in Turkey from July to September, while the number of journalists in jail rose from 67 to 68 in the same period, Turkish Minute reported, citing a quarterly report from the Expression Interrupted Project.

Expression Interrupted, part of the Punto 24 Independent Journalism Association (P24), has published its seventh Freedom of Expression and Press Agenda report.

According to the report, in 15 of the 51 cases in which journalists appeared in court as defendants in this period, 10 of them resulted in the convictions of the journalists.

In the 10 cases, 11 journalists were sentenced to a total of 30 years, 11 months and 11 days of jail time.

The prison sentence given to one of the journalists was converted to a fine of TL 10,110 ($1,860).

In five of the trials, journalists were acquitted of the charges against them. In addition, nine new indictments were drafted against 14 journalists, while 11 journalists and media workers were taken into police custody in the same period.

The most common charges faced by the journalists are terrorism-related such as disseminating terrorist propaganda, membership in a terrorist organization or knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization.

Other frequent charges faced by the journalists are violating the Meetings and Demonstrations Law no. 2911, insulting a public official and insulting the president of Turkey.

The report also revealed that 23 journalists were subjected to maltreatment and threats from the police while doing their jobs. One journalist was denied entry to Turkey and one was deported while 20 journalists were blacklisted by Turkish authorities in the same period due to their alleged affiliation with a certain group disliked by the government.

Turkey, where the freedom of the press has deteriorated since a failed coup in July 2016 due to a government-led crackdown on critical journalists and non-loyalist citizens, was ranked 149th among 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2022 World Press Freedom Index, announced in May.

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