Free Journalists Initiative says files opened against 37 journalists across Turkey in May

The Free Journalists Initiative (Özgür Gazeteciler İnisiyatifi, ÖGİ) has reported that files were opened against 37 journalists across Turkey in May.

The ÖGİ stated in its May report, released on Sunday, that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is against democracy and freedom in the country, reminding of attacks against the free press.

“A free press naturally means democracy and freedom. However, in this country these two fundamental concepts are constantly being attacked. The last major assault on the free press was actually during the last election. This assault is still going on,” said OGİ.

According to the OGİ’s May report, 192 journalists are in jail in Turkey. “Six journalists were taken into custody, 4 journalists were remanded in custody, 37 journalists have seen files opened against them, 1 journalist has been investigated, 25 journalists were tried, 3 journalists were sentenced to 14 years, 1 month and 22 days’ imprisonment, 1 journalist was battered … in May.

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 242 journalists and media workers were in jail as of June 3, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 182 were under arrest pending trial while only 60 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 142 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.

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