Turkey blocks access to four more opposition media outlets

Ahead of critical voting on April 16 over constitutional change to the regime from parliamentary democracy to executive presidency for one-man-rule access to the more opposition news portals blocked in Turkey. Sendika.org, dihaber, ANF Türkçe and Özgürlükçü Demokrasi was blocked by Turkish government on Tuesday. The websites in question used to cover mostly the issues related to Kurdish minority and on the human rights violations in Turkey.

Sendika.org said the government has banned their website for 19 times since July 25, 2015. Every time sendika.org faces a ban, it comes up with a domain similar to the original one. “Sendika.org will meet you as soon as possible on its new website, sendika18.org,” the website said.

A total of 195 media outlets have been shut down by the government since the July 15 coup attempt with around 2,500 media personnel left unemployed.

Early last month, the Turkish telecommunications authority (BTK) also moved to block access to VPN services including Tor Project, VPN Master, Hotspot Shield VPN, Psiphon, Zenmate VPN, TunnelBear, Zero VPN, VyprVPN, Private Internet Access VPN, Espress VPN and IPVanish VPN.

As of April 1, 2017, Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF), a Stockholm-based monitoring and rights advocacy group, has confirmed that 228 journalists and media workers are behind bars in Turkey, a new world record by any measure. Of these journalists, 194 are arrested pending trial and without a conviction. 13 jailed journalists have been re-detained just after they were released by an İstanbul court on March 31, 2017. 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 with turkeypurge.com) April 5, 2017

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