Turkish courts handed down sentences to 41 journalists in first half of 2019

The Free Journalists Initiative (ÖGİ) has announced that the first six months of the year saw the trial of 287 journalists, 41 of whom were sentenced to a total of 119 years, three months in prison, Turkish media reported.

The group released a report titled “Violations against journalists” for the first half of the year, focusing on the judicial pressures Turkish journalists are faced with while trying to perform their duty of informing the public.

Twenty-nine new investigations were launched and eight investigations turned into prosecutions. One media outlet was raided by the police.

Thirty-four journalists were detained and 11 were arrested, while 22 journalists were released and two were deported.

The report said journalists in Turkey persist in doing their job despite the dire conditions they find themselves in.

“The political power has standardized the media as it did with the political system. Its polarizing and alienating rhetoric was widely reflected in the mainstream media,” it said.

Turkey ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 184 journalists and media workers were in jail as of July 2, 2019. Of those in prison 87 were under arrest pending trial while 97 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 167 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

The government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt on July 15, 2016. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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