Barış Pehlivan, editor-in-chief of the Oda TV news website, has been given a suspended sentence of 11 months, 20 days for “insulting” Turkish autocraticPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
According to the Diken news website, Pehlivan was found guilty of publishing sarcastic comments made by British comedian John William Oliver during an HBO political talk show.
Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey, according to Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Whoever insults the president can face up to four years in prison, a sentence that can be increased if the crime is committed through the mass media.
Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Centre for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 253 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of October 24, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 229 are arrested pending trial, only 24 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 133 journalists who live 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 more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)