Turkey worst in world for jailed journalists for second year: CPJ report

Turkey worst in world for jailed journalists for second year: CPJ report

Turkey worst in world for jailed journalists for second year: CPJ report

Turkey was ranked as the country where the most journalists are imprisoned in the world for a second consecutive year, followed by China and Egypt, according to the latest annual report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The report, published by the New York-based organization’s editorial director Elana Beiser on Dec. 13, CPJ stated there were 262 journalists in jail across the world as of December 2017, a record high in what it called “a dismal failure by the international community to address a global crisis” in terms of press freedom.

The report showed that Turkey ranked top in terms of imprisoned journalists for the second year in a row, recording 73 journalists currently in jail compared to 81 last year.

“The crackdown on the Turkish press that began in early 2016 and accelerated after a failed coup attempt that July—which the government blamed on an alleged terrorist organization led by exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen—continued apace in 2017. Authorities accused some journalists of terrorist activity based solely on their alleged use of a messaging app, Bylock, or bank accounts at allegedly Gülenist institutions,” the report stated.

It added that the Turkish government “appeared to pay little price for its repressive tactics,” while noting that U.S. President Donald Trump hosted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the White House in May, praising him as a friend.

The report also cited the arrest of prominent Cumhuriyet reporter Ahmet Şık and Turkish-German reporter for Die Welt Deniz Yücel, who have both been imprisoned on terror charges.

The troubled state of media freedom in Turkey mirrored broader global trends, the report noted. 

“In its annual prison census, CPJ found 262 journalists behind bars around the world in relation to their work, a new record after a historical high of 259 last year. The worst three jailers are responsible for jailing 134—or 51 percent—of the total,” the CPJ said.

The number of imprisoned journalists rose to 41 from 38 a year earlier in China and in Egypt, where the number of journalists in prison fell to 20 from 25 last year, according to the CPJ report.

The organization also noted that U.S. President Trump visited China in November and made no public reference to human rights despite recent abuses and arrests of journalists.