Blinken on World Press Freedom Day: Turkey among world's top three worst jailers of press

Citing the Committee to Protect Journalists' report, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that Turkey, China and Egypt take the top three spots for jailing the most number of journalists in 2020.

A protestor holds a banner reading 'Free press cannot be silenced' during a demonstration in this file photo.

Duvar English

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has marked the World Press Freeedom Day in a press statement, saying that Turkey, China and Egypt imprisoned the most reporters last year.

Blinken based his remarks on the 2020 report of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

“According to CPJ, the number of journalists jailed for their reporting in 2020 reached the highest level since the organization began keeping track, with the People’s Republic of China, Turkey, and Egypt imprisoning the most reporters last year,” he said in the press statement, as the world celebrated the World Press Freedom Day on May 3.

Many journalists in Turkey face arrest and detention for attempting to document the human rights violations of the authorities.

The CPJ had said in its December report that a record number of journalists were imprisoned because of their work in 2020, with China being the worst jailer of journalists in the world. The country was followed by Turkey and Egypt, respectively.

A fresh report by the Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS) has said that Turkish courts sentenced journalists to a total of 226 years, eight months and 25 days in prison over the past year.

The courts also banned access to 1,411 news stories from 62 different sources in the past year, and ruled for 13 news stories to be removed from the Internet, the TGS further said.

Only 25 pct of press card holders are women in Turkey

Meanwhile, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay has said that 15,148 journalists in Turkey own an official press card as of the end of 2020 and only 25 percent of them are women.

Oktay made the comments in response to a parliamentary question filed by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) MP Segin Tanrıkulu.

Tanrıkulu said that the numbers are a “concrete and painful indicator” of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)'s policies against women.

“The low number of women even in the press with a yellow [official press] card is a concrete and painful indicator of the government's policies against women in the last 20 years,” Tanrıkulu was quoted as saying by the online T24 news portal.

Most women in Turkey remain out of the labor market, according to official statistics. The labor participation rate is 34.5 percent for women while labor participation rate stands at 71.8 percent for men, according to data of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).

The statistics also suggest that that the higher the level of education, the more women participated in the labor force.