World Press Freedom Day in Turkey: 43 journalists in prison, 122 on trial

The Dicle Fırat Journalists' Association (DFG) issued a press statement on 3 May, World Press Freedom Day, with the presence of lawmakers, highlighting that 43 journalists have been in prison and 122 journalists have been on trial in Turkey as of April 2024.

Evrim Deniz / Gazete Duvar

On May 3 World Press Freedom Day, Dicle Fırat Journalists' Association (DFG), DİSK (Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions) Basın-İş, Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS) and Mesopotamia Women Journalists' Association (MKG) held a joint press statement in eastern Diyarbakır province.

DFG announced the report titled "Rights Violations Against Journalists in 2024" and stated that 43 journalists have been under arrest and 22 journalists have been on trial as of April 2024.

Delivering the opening speech, DFG Co-President Selman Çiçek stated that World Press Freedom Day was once again celebrated in an environment of oppression against journalists. 

Çiçek said, "The circle of oppression is growing, from the obstacles encountered while tracking news to censorship, from journalists who are prosecuted for reporting news to journalists who are arrested in operations at dawn."

Çiçek stated that journalists were repeatedly prevented from reporting during the last local elections. He underscored that journalists were attacked with tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons, and that police officers threatened the journalist who filmed police violence with death and forcibly erased their footage. 

He also noted stated that journalists covering the Workers’ Day celebrations in Istanbul were beaten, handcuffed and detained.

MKGD President Roza Metina took the floor and said, "Today, many journalists are imprisoned. We are here today and we say as their voice that journalism is not a crime.”

She stated that journalist Esra Silin Dal was subjected to strip search and added, “This is an unlawful practice. We want journalists to be on the streets, not in prison. We will always defend the right to information of our friends and the society."

The Labor Party (EMEP) lawmaker Sevda Karaca, a former press worker, reminded that in the last 22 years, at least 894 journalists have been imprisoned in Turkey.