Turkey’s judiciary is prone to linking journalism with terrorism: report

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A trial monitoring study by the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) and the International Press Institute (IPI) has found that an overwhelming majority of convictions of journalists in Turkey emanated from their publications.

According to the report 169 trials involving journalists were monitored between February 2019 and March 2020, with 60 percent of the journalists charged with terrorism-related offenses. In 74 percent of the cases, journalistic work was used as evidence against the defendants.

The NGOs said Turkish courts treat the defendants unlawfully, using as terrorism-related evidence the written or spoken word, which must be considered to be within the boundaries of free speech.

The study was supported by the European Commission’s Civil Society Support Programme-II and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF).

Commenting on the findings of the report, MLSA Co-director Veysel Ok stated that the trial monitoring report was the most comprehensive such report written in Turkey. Ok stressed the fact that journalism as a profession is still associated with terrorism in Turkey.

“The evidence is made up of social media posts, news stories, articles and TV broadcasts,” he said.

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