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95 Turkish journalists appeared before a judge in March, report reveals

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As Turkey continues to be among the top jailers of journalists in the world, a total of 95 journalists appeared in court in March, according to a report drafted by a journalist.

Journalist Barış Yarkadaş, also a former opposition lawmaker, said Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) seems determined not to leave any journalists with critical views of the government without a trial.

“Journalists are so busy going to courthouses that they can’t find time to do their jobs,” Yarkadaş said as he released his report on Wednesday.

The report, titled, “Rights Violations in the Media,” also revealed that three journalists were detained; seven others were given prison sentences amounting to 11 years, two months, 15 days in total; two journalists were subjected to physical attacks; access to two news websites was blocked; and one journalist was slapped with a fine.

The Turkish government increased its crackdown on critical media outlets and journalists in the aftermath of a failed coup 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.

According to the Stockholm Center for Freedom’s “Jailed and Wanted Journalists in Turkey” database, 174 journalists are behind bars in Turkey and 167 are wanted and either in exile or at large.

A world leader in jailing journalists, Turkey was ranked 154th out of 180 countries in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

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