Number of Imprisoned Journalists in Turkey Nearly Doubles
The number of journalists imprisoned in Turkey has nearly doubled, according to a new study published by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which noted that 95 journalists are in Turkish prisons today, up from 57 in 2011. Freedom House welcomes the report and joins the OSCE in calling on Turkey to reform its media laws, which include vague anti-terrorism provisions that have been used for years to imprison journalists for allegedly disseminating statements and propaganda from terrorist organizations.
“The sheer number of imprisoned journalists raises fundamental questions about the law and policy on journalism and free expression in Turkey. I am concerned that the threat of imprisonment will lead to further widespread self-censorship,” said Dunja Mijatović, Representative on Freedom of the Media for OSCE, urging that those currently in prison should be released.
Turkey is rated Partly Free in Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press 2011 index, which notes that threats and harassment against journalists are more common than physical attacks. Freedom House continues its rebuke against backsliding press freedom in Turkey. In March 2012, an Istanbul court banned an award-winning Turkish newspaper, Özgür Gündem, from publication for allegedly spreading “terrorist propaganda,” after it reported on the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the country’s persecution of Kurds.