Journalist faces multiple insult charges due to social media posts

An editor at the Gerçek Gündem news website has been indicted on charges of insulting public officials in tweets that allegedly targeted two deputy ministers and a member of the country’s top court, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA).

Journalist Furkan Karabay is accused of insulting deputy justice ministers Akın Gürlek and Hasan Yılmaz as well as Constitutional Court judge İrfan Fidan. He faces a prison sentence of between three months and two years on charges of insulting a public official multiple times.

According to the prosecutors, Karabay’s tweets in which he criticized the appointment of the deputy justice ministers and Fidan to their positions went beyond the limits of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

The first hearing in the trial will be held at the Ankara 16th Criminal Court of First Instance on Jan. 17.

Insulting a public official is a crime in Turkey under the 125th Article of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

It is common for journalists as well as others in Turkey to face charges of insult of public officials and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Even the slightest criticism is considered an insult.

Turkey, which is known as one of the top jailers of journalists in the world, ranks 165th among 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2023 World Press Freedom Index, which was announced in early May.

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