Turkey | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


In 2002, state reforms designed to gain EU membership yielded some improvements in the areas of criminal libel law and minority-language broadcasting. Nevertheless, overall gains in press freedom remained stagnant during the year. Article 26 of the constitution guarantees freedom of the press. However, recent amendments restrict this right in the case of national security and classified information. The Anti-Terror Law prohibits separatist propaganda. The criminal code further prohibits insults against the state and incitement to violence. In 2002, the government limited the penalty for such acts to a maximum of three years' imprisonment. However, officials continue to strictly enforce these laws and journalists are frequently jailed for discussing the Kurds, the military, or political Islam. In August, parliament approved regulations allowing for Kurdish-language broadcasting. Yet, subsequent regulations restrict the number of hours for minority language programs and insist that all broadcasts take place on state-controlled stations. The government maintains a large degree of influence over both the public and private media.