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Dec 13 2018

Turkey remains the top jailer of journalists - Committee to Protect Journalists

Turkey has remained the top jailer of journalists in the world in 2018, with at least 68 journalists behind bars, a slight dip from previous years, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an organisation working for press freedom, said on Thursday.

All of those imprisoned journalists face terror related charges, such as aiding or being members of organisations Turkey designates as terrorist groups. 

“In the course of the year, dozens more have been jailed or released, as prosecutors continue to seek arrest warrants and apply new charges, and courts ordered some journalists released pending trial and acquitted others,” CPJ wrote. 

For the third year in a row, Turkey, China, and Egypt are combined responsible for more than half of the journalists jailed around the world. Azerbaijan imprisoned 10 journalists this year, while Uzbekistan had zero for the first time in 20 years, CPJ wrote.

“Erdoğan began the crackdown before the 2016 failed coup attempt, but afterward intensified it, shutting down more than 100 news outlets by decree,” CPJ wrote. Many of the detained journalists are accused of being affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) or the Gulen movement, which the government said carried out the attempt coup in 2016.

Not counted among the 68 journalists includes 13 staff from Gün Printing House, including its owner, a security guard, and “several machine operators,” CPJ wrote. “Their ‘crime’ is evidently printing Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, a pro-Kurdish daily paper that the government took over and eventually shut down.”