In the month of September, four journalists in Turkey were detained, one was arrested, 110 appeared in court hearings, five were given a total of 21 years, three months in prison and 11 were released pending appeal, according to a Free Journalists Initiative (ÖGİ) report.
The report also criticized the expansion of the authority of Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) over Internet broadcasting.
A new regulation allowed RTÜK to monitor, fine or suspend Internet broadcasting channels, including Netflix in Turkey. Also, radio and television broadcasting via the Internet is now subject to permission from RTÜK and the country’s intelligence agency.
“The intent of these regulations is to declare free journalism as illegal,” the report said.
The report also cited the detention of two journalists for their reporting, one of which was about felling a hundred-year-old tree in Rize province and the other concerned a 45-year-old father’s suicide over economic problems.
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 236 journalists and media workers were in jail as of September 20, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 168 were under arrest pending trial while only 68 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 147 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 a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. (SCF with turkishminute.com)