108 journalists behind bars in Turkey, report reveals

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A journalist holds a placard reading "free media" during a demonstration for the World Press Freedom Day on the Istiklal avenue, in Istanbul, on May 3, 2017. According to the P24 press freedom website on April 4, 2017, there are 141 journalists behind bars in Turkey, most of whom were detained as part of the state of emergency imposed after the failed coup. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

There are 108 journalists in Turkey’s prisons, and Turkey is the second biggest jailer of journalists in the world, according to a report drafted by an opposition deputy.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Utku Çakırözer, a former journalist, drafted the report on the occasion of Working Journalists Day, marked in Turkey every Jan. 10.

In his report Çakırözer said 172 journalists were forced to defend their journalistic activities in courts in 2019; at least 60 journalists were detained; journalists were ordered to pay compensation totaling close to half a million Turkish lira as a result of losing lawsuits; at least 34 journalists were beaten in public venues; and access to 36,216 websites was blocked.

The Turkish government increased its crackdown on critical media outlets and journalists in the country in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in July 2016 following which dozens of journalists were jailed while more than 200 media outlets were closed down under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

In an annual report of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) for the year 2019, Turkey is listed as the second country, following China, with the highest number of journalists in jail.

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