Turkey locks up 228 journalists, a new world record

The number of jailed journalists in Turkey has reached to 228, a new world record, as the massive crackdown on the free, independent and critical media by the authoritarian regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan shows no sign of abating any time soon.

As of April 1, 2017, Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF), a Stockholm based monitoring and rights advocacy group, has documented that 228 journalists and media workers are behind bars in Turkey. Of these, 194 are arrested pending trial, most without even an indictment and none with a conviction.

Only 21 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. 13 journalists are currently under police custody and were not formally arrested yet. What is more, an outstanding detention warrants for 92 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey have been issued.

The updated list is posted on SCF’s website with searchable format by name, last name, status, date of arrest, prison, media outlet and media type.

Moreover, SCF has finally identified 22 arrested journalists who were working for Turkish Radio Television Corporation (TRT), a state-run broadcasting network. SCF did not include these names to its earlier lists although it knew the total tally because it was unable to identify them by names.

In one of the most bizarre cases on press freedom woes in Turkey, all 21 jailed journalists who were ordered to be released pending trial by an İstanbul court on Friday were immediately detained by authorities, depriving them of their liberty after already serving eight months behind bars. These journalists were detained while their families and loved ones were waiting outside to meet them before the Silivri Prison after the release order.

A few hours after the decision, Turkish prosecutors launched a new investigation into 13 of 21 journalists and have the journalists detained. The prosecutor’s objection to the release of remaining 8 journalists was also concurrently accepted by the court. Thus, none of these 21 journalists have been freed. This scandal is considered as new pressure on judiciary that no courts will dare to release journalists along with tens of thousands of imprisoned innocent people once again in the coming days.

Journalists in Turkey are accused of being membership in a terrorist organization, spreading terrorist propaganda and attempting to overthrow the current government. Yet there is no signal evidence presented by the government  to the alleged crimes other than published articles, Twitter messages and books. Almost 90 percent of jailed journalists lost their freedom after the failed coup attempt on July 15,2016.

Turkey is the world’s worst jailer of journalists. More than half of the journalists who are in prison around the world are in Turkey, a member of the Council of Europe (CoE) and a candidate member for the European Union.

The Turkish government claims there is no single journalist behind bars and says all jailed journalists have been accused of charges that has nothing to do with journalistic work. April 1, 2017

Jailed and wanted journalists in Turkey – Updated List

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