Amnesty International launches a global campaign for jailed journalists in Turkey

International human rights body, Amnesty International (AI), has launched a global campaign with the title of “A Prison of Silence: The Death of Journalism in Turkey” for jailed Turkish journalists by urging people to demand the release of journalists and media workers by sending e-mails.

In a statement in its website AI said that “Turkey has earned an accolade which holds no glory: according to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, it is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. Globally, one third of all imprisoned journalists, media workers and executives are in Turkey’s prisons, with the vast majority among them waiting to be brought to trial. Some have been languishing in prison for months. An ongoing state of emergency was declared in July, following a violent coup attempt, blamed by the President and the government on those loyal to the cleric Fethullah Gülen. Journalists have been targeted in an unprecedented crackdown on all strands of opposition media.”

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.

AI continued to state that “Coupled with the closure of more than 160 media outlets, the message – and the resulting effect on press freedom – is clear and disturbing: the space for dissent is ever-shrinking and speaking out comes at an immeasurable cost.”

According to figures shared by AI, Turkey jails more journalists than any other country, 1 out of 3 of the world’s jailed journalists are in Turkey, 120+ journalists remain in prison following the post-coup crackdown, 160+ media outlets have been closed down since the coup attempt.

However, according to a recent report released by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) 191 journalists are either convicted and serving time in prison or jailed in pre-trial, and the most of the journalists have not even seen an indictment against them. The report stated that 92 journalists are wanted for arrest but remain at large either in Turkey or abroad. The SCF has also said that the number of media organizations seized and shut down by the government has reached 189.

Feb. 16, 2015

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