Turkey has blocked 42 Kurdish agency new reports since 2017

Turkish courts have issued access bans on 42 news reports published by the Mezopotamya news agency (MA) since 2017, according to MA.

Turkish authorities have in the last few years cracked down on websites and social media accounts and posts, especially those considered to support “terrorism,” leading to accusations that freedom of expression has been curtailed.

Access bans have been issued by the criminal courts of peace in Ankara, Diyarbakır, Hatay, İstanbul, Muğla, Niğde and Samsun provinces, MA reported.

The Turkish government has intensified the crackdown on Kurdish media outlets and journalists ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14. 

Eleven Kurdish journalists were detained on Tuesday as part of an investigation by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Kurdish journalists in Turkey frequently face legal harassment, stand trial and are given jail sentences for covering issues related to Kurds and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a bloody campaign in Turkey’s southeast since 1984.

Rights groups routinely accuse the Turkish government of trying to keep the press under control by imprisoning journalists, closing down media outlets, overseeing the purchase of media brands by pro-government conglomerates and using regulatory authorities to exert financial pressure, especially after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan survived a failed coup in July 2016.

Turkey, which is one of the top jailers of journalists in the world, was ranked 149th among 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2022 World Press Freedom Index.

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