108 Turkish journalists appeared in court in February: report

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A total of 108 journalists appeared at court hearings in February, while three journalists were newly charged and three were arrested, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing according to the “Cost of News’ monthly report published by the Turkish Journalists’ Association (TGC).

Journalist Güngör Arslan, who owned a local news website in northwestern Turkey, was shot in front of his office in February. He was taken to a hospital where he died of his injuries.

Fifty-three journalists were accused of membership in a terrorist organization, 19 of disseminating terrorist propaganda, six of “violating the law on meetings and demonstrations” and three of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In February five journalists were sentenced to a total of 15 years, eight months and 22 days, according to the report.

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.

According to the report, eight journalists have faced attacks and violence during the last month.

Turkey was ranked 153rd among 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in April.

Rights groups routinely accuse Turkey of undermining media freedom by arresting journalists and shutting down critical media outlets, especially since President Erdoğan survived a failed coup in July 2016.

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