Turkey ranks 155th in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index

Readers protested the seizure of Zaman Media Group on March 4, 2016 in Istanbul.

Turkey, which has around 200 journalists jailed in its prisons, is ranked 155th among 180 countries in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Wednesday.

If Turkey falls four more ranks, it will make it to the list of the countries on the blacklist, which has the poorest record in press freedom.

RSF said a witch-hunt carried out by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government against its media critics has come to a head since the abortive coup of July 2016 and that the authorities have used their fight against “terrorism” as grounds for an unprecedented purge.

“A state of emergency has allowed them to eliminate dozens of media outlets at the stroke of a pen, reducing pluralism to a handful of low-circulation publications. Dozens of journalists have been imprisoned without trial, turning Turkey into the world’s biggest prison for media personnel. Those still free are exposed to other forms of arbitrary treatment including waves of trials, withdrawal of press cards, cancellation of passports, and seizure of assets. Censorship of online social networks has also reached unprecedented levels,” RSF said.

Turkey is the worst jailer of journalists and media workers in the world. Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has announced the number of journalists behind bars as of April 20, 2017 reached to a new record with 235 languishing in Turkish jails, most without a trial and convictions. Of these journalists, 214 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. Also 4 journalists are under detention on Friday and 100 journalists are wanted and 839 have been charged in Turkey. (SCF with turkishminute.com) April 26, 2017

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