A total of 87 journalists stood trial in June, while two journalists were newly charged, according to the “Cost of News” monthly report published by the Turkish Journalists’ Association (TGC), the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.
Thirty-nine journalists were accused of membership in a terrorist organization, 11 of disseminating terrorist propaganda and five of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The prosecutors demanded 713 years to 1,670 years of jail time in total for all the defendants and TL 200,000 in non-pecuniary damages in the cases.
Two journalists were sentenced to a total of six years, four months and 15 days, according to the report. Five of the journalists — Melike Aydın of Jin News, Alican Uludağ of Cumhuriyet and freelance journalists Cem Bahtiyar, Olcay Büyüktaş Akça and Hazal Ocak — were acquitted.
The report was prepared as part of the Media for Democracy/Democracy for Media Project, which was established by the association and funded by the European Union. It aims to strengthen pluralist media and a free press as a safeguard for democracy in the country.
“Almost every day more than one journalist is tried in more than one city for doing his or her job,” the report said. “Besides the ongoing trials, every month new cases are brought against journalists.”
Turkey was ranked 153rd among 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in April.
According to the Stockholm Center for Freedom’s “Jailed and Wanted Journalists in Turkey” database, 173 journalists are behind bars in Turkey and 167 are wanted and either in exile or at large.