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2 journalists arrested for social media posts on tents allegedly withheld from quake victims

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Two journalists have been arrested pending trial in Osmaniye, one of 10 provinces hit by major earthquakes in Turkey earlier this month, due to social media posts questioning the authorities over tents allegedly withheld from quake victims in the province, the ANKA news agency reported on Monday.

The earthquakes, which struck on February 6, killed more than 44,000 people in Turkey and thousands in neighboring Syria.

Brothers Ali and İbrahim İmat, both local journalists, demanded an explanation from Turkish authorities on social media for allegations that tents, which were brought to Osmaniye for those made homeless by the quake, were being withheld from them, according to ANKA.

The journalists were arrested for “publicly disseminating misleading information to the public” and jailed in Osmaniye, ANKA said, adding that they would be facing a prison sentence of from one year to three years.

Journalists who report on the shortcomings of the government’s earthquake response are facing immense pressure. Turkey’s media watchdog last week penalized three TV stations due to their reporting critical of the government’s post-quake response.

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