Turkey put 179 journalists on trial, detained 16 in three months: Media Monitoring Report

At least 16 journalists were detained and 179 journalists were tried by Turkish courts over the period of April to June this year, according to a new report published by the Turkish Journalists’ Association (TGC).

Turkish media workers hold signs reading 'We can't breathe' during a protest against government pressure on independent media in Istanbul in June.

Duvar English

The Turkish Journalists' Association (TGC) on Aug. 6 published its “Media Monitoring Report” documenting the state of press freedom in Turkey for the second quarter of this year.

The report was prepared within the scope of the Media for Democracy/Democracy for Media Project, which was established by the association and funded by the European Union.

According to the report, at least 16 journalists have been detained over the period of April to June, whereas 179 journalists have stood trial in 81 separate cases concerning their works over this same period.

The number of journalists who have been attacked in the first six months of this year reached 55, whereas 15 of these attacks took place in the months of April, May and June. The report said that politicians and government officials continued to show journalists as a target during this period.

“The rhetoric violence is followed by attacks on the street. When the politics and judiciary do not fulfill their responsibility, the attackers are being encouraged, and those who are caught get away with immunity. The threat against the journalists' security had not increased to such a degree before,” the report said.

The report highlighted that Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), is imposing punitive and disproportionate sanctions against independent media outlets for their coverage critical of the government. The result has a significant economic impact on opposition media outlets, the report said.

The report also emphasized that the government has been putting a financial grip on the independent media by starving them of public revenues, whereas pro-government media outlets receive the lion's share of advertisement volume from state-run institutions.

The severity of the Turkish government's repression of the media is such that it has been described by several experts as the “death of journalism.”

Activists and NGOs have been slamming the government over its censorship of the media, saying it is obliged to ensure the right to freedom of expression and access to information.