The Turkish Journalists’ Association (TGC) has bestowed this year’s Press Freedom Award on 16 journalists who were recently arrested in southeastern Diyarbakır province on charges of membership in a terrorist organization, Evrensel daily reported on Friday.
Turkish authorities arrested 16 journalists, including the Dicle Fırat Journalists’ Association (DFG) co-chair Serdar Altan, Mezopotamya news agency (MA) Editor-in-Chief Aziz Oruç and JinNews News Director Safiye Alagaş, on June 16, after they had been detained in Diyarbakır on June 8, in a move that sparked outrage among opposition politicians, press members and rights activists.
The TGC said it was giving the award to the Kurdish journalists under arrest and more broadly to all journalists in Turkey who are prevented from doing their jobs, according to Evrensel.
Turkey, which is known as one of the top jailers of journalists in the world, was ranked 149th among 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2022 World Press Freedom Index.
Dozens of critical journalists were jailed in Turkey, while many media outlets were closed down in the aftermath of a coup attempt in the country in July 2016.