Turkey's 'Press Day:' 274 journalists facing probes amid increasing authoritarianism
Turkey on July 24 marked “Press Day” amid an increasing media censorship, with 274 journalists currently on trial over their works. “The [Presidential] Communications Director has been threatening journalists and media organs constantly on his social media account. It would be light to say there is censorship and oppression against the press in the country,” main opposition CHP MP Bülbül said.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) MP Süleyman Bülbül released a statement to mark Turkey's Press Day July 24, which is celebrated by Turkish journalists as the anniversary of the abolishment of official press censorship in 1908 during the late Ottoman Empire.
Bülbül said in his written statement that 38 Turkish journalists are currently imprisoned and that courts have banned access to at least 400 news stories in the last four months.
“When 38 media workers are imprisoned, how can it be possible to celebrate July 24 Press Day?” online news outlet T24 quoted Bülbül as saying.
Bülbül said that 101 journalists have been prosecuted alone during the 2020-2021 period and that 274 journalists are currently standing trial in 128 investigations.
“In just the last four months, access ban has been implemented on approximately 400 news stories. The [Presidential] Communications Director has been threatening journalists and media organs constantly on this social media account. It would be light to say there is censorship and oppression against the press in the country,” Bülbül said.
Bülbül also recalled that the international press freedom organization Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) ranked Turkey 153rd among 180 countries in its 2021 press freedom index.
Following the declaration of the Second Constitutional Era in the late Ottoman Epire, newspapers started to be published without censorship for the first time on July 24, 1908. Since then, July 24 is marked as the “Press Day” in Turkey.