Turkey ranked 149th out of 180 countries in the 2022 World Press Freedom Index prepared by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The report was published on May 3, World Press Freedom Day.
Turkey, which ranked 153rd in 2021, seems to have moved up four places in this year's report. According to the index, the fight of civil society against the pressure on the media was effective in this progress.
Turkey was ranked 98th in 2005, 138th in 2010, 149th in 2015, and 154th in 2020 in the index which is announced every year. "Intense and various pressures" on journalism were said to be effective in this regression.
Speaking to BBC Turkish, RSF Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu said that Turkey seems to have advanced a few places in the index this year, as there are more serious problems in the lagging countries than in Turkey.
Also, mass demonstrations protesting violence against journalists, positive decisions from some courts with the view that "oppression [against journalists] is excessive" and the decrease in the number of arrests of journalists are other reasons behind Turkey's progress to 149th place this year.
'Hyper-presidency of Erdoğan denies freedom of press'
The following statements about Turkey were included in the index, which was announced for the 20th time this year and points out the conditions in which journalism is practiced in the country.
“The ‘hyper-presidency’ of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his authoritarianism are accompanied by a denial of freedom of the press and interference in the judicial system.
Even if the courts tend to imprison when Erdogan demands it, some judges have recently come out against ‘this repression that goes too far’: journalists have been acquitted of abusive charges such as ‘insulting the president’, ‘belonging to a terrorist organisation’, or ‘propaganda’.”
The report also recalled photo-journalist Bülent Kılıç's brutal detention last year, saying: “In July 2021, for the first time since the state of emergency was declared, journalists mounted a massive protest over the brutal arrest of AFP photo-journalist Bülent Kılıç.”
The report also brought attention the murder of two journalists Güngör Arslan and Hazim Özsu during the 2021-2022 period.
According to the index, the media freedom status is "good" in eight out of 180 countries, "satisfactory" in 40, "problematic" in 62, "difficult" in 42 countries including Turkey, and "very serious" in 28 countries.
Scandinavian countries Norway, Denmark and Sweden are in the top three of the list, while North Korea, Eritrea and Iran are at the bottom of the list.