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Committee to Protect Journalists : Turkey is ‘World’s Leading Jailer Of Journalists’, while Erdogan continue to sue journalists

Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan cases against journalists stanching criticism
Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan cases against journalists stanching criticism

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned Turkey for being disgracingly ‘the world’s leading jailer of journalists.’ Turkey is marked with this shame, yet Turkish PM Erdogan continues to sue journalist for ‘insulting’ HIM.

Istanbul / NationalTurk – In a report issued on October 22, the New York-based Journalism rights group CPJ stated 76 Turkish journalists were in Turkish prisons as of August 1, adding that 61 of them seemed to be jailed as a direct result of their work.

The report notes the cases of the remaining 15 journalists are still being investigated by CPJ workers.

The report also adds that 70 % of those journalists were of Turks with Kurdish origins.

Meanwhile, lawsuits opened on behalf of the Turkish prime minister against people who have “insulted” HIM in the Turkish media and  have thus created a strong deterrent factor preventing other reporters from deploying similar rhetoric, according to a lawyer for the Turkish leader.

The CPJ report says 30 % of imprisoned journalists were accused of participating in plots against the Turkish government or membership in outlawed organizations such as PKK terrorists.

The report also claims that three-quarters of jailed journalists have not yet been convicted of any crime but are held while they await “resolution of their cases.”

According to the CPJ, the charges against these journalists often originate from the journalists speaking with “security officials or obtaining documents.”

CPJ executive director Joel Simon said, “Turkey’s tendency to equate critical journalism with terrorism is not justified by the country’s security concerns.”

The report cites Turkish media-freedom groups as reporting at the end of 2011 that there were some 5,000 criminal cases pending against journalists.

It also criticizes Turkish authorities for a 2007 Internet law that allows ad hoc filtering, which CPJ says is particularly noticeable against opposition and Kurdish websites.

Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan cases against journalists stanching criticism, his lawyer’s words

“We have to underline that cases we’ve opened against press have been quite a deterrent; the wording of columnists has noticeably changed especially since the year 2003. Reporters and columnists do not exceed the dose when making criticisms anymore; insulting comments or columns have been reduced to minimum,” Ali Özkaya, a lawyer for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was quoted as saying by daily Akşam today.

The lawyer states they mostly sued Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and that they had won the most compensation from cases involving the main opposition head.

Turkish Youth insults Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Twitter, Facebook … everywhere

Özkaya also warned Turkish youth about use of social media. “Young people are using social media as if they’re talking to a friend and they insult the prime minister and other ministers. They think nobody sees their messages, but social media is a public area. According to the law, cases are automatically being opened against these [people] even if the prime minister doesn’t make a complaint,’ he explains.

The CPJ recommends that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan “should cease his attacks on the press and instead provide justice for journalists while pursuing reforms that guarantee freedom of expression.”

The CPJ’s Simon said, “As a rising regional and global power, Turkey’s economic and political success should be matched by respect for the universal right to freely exchange news, information, and ideas.”

According to the CPJ, the number of journalists in Turkish jails surpasses figures in Iran, China, or Eritrea, qualifying Turkey for the title of the world’s leading jailer of journalists.

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