Stockholm Center for Freedom, an advocacy group that monitors rights violations in Turkey, has updated its mammoth list of jailed journalists in Turkey which reached to a record 200. The list is posted on SCF’s website with searchable format by name, last name, date of arrest, prison, media outlet and media type.
As of March 1, 2017, SCF has confirmed that 200 journalists and media workers are behind bars in Turkey, a world record by any measure. Of these journalists, 179 are arrested pending trial and without a conviction. Most of the journalists do not even know what the charges are or what evidence, if any, the government has because the indictments were not filed yet.
The Turkish government is apparently using arbitrary arrests as part of intimidation campaign to suppress critical coverage, muzzle independent media and silence journalists. Only 21 journalists who are in jail were convicted while the rest are in abusive and long pre-trial detentions. Moreover, sweeping detention warrants have been issued for 92 journalists who are forced to live in exile abroad or remain at large in Turkey.
SCF was made aware of 22 arrested employees of state-run broadcasting network TRT whose names were not released to public. These people are not listed by SCF as the work is still underway to identify these people, find out what charges they are facing.
Virtually all jailed journalists are accused of being “membership in a terrorist organization,” “spreading terrorist propaganda,” “attempting to overthrow the current government” or “espionage,” usual charges to silence media in authoritarian regimes. More than 85 percent of jailed journalists are put behind bars after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
Turkey hold the notorious title of world’s worst jailer of journalists as it currently has the highest number of journalists in jail worldwide. More than half the journalists who are in prison around the world are in Turkey.
The Turkish government brushes off criticism on press freedom woes and claims there are no journalists in Turkish prisons or no journalists jailed because of journalistic work.
March 1, 2017
Muhabir Ajans’ Bursa correspondent Enis Öznük has also been arrested recently.