The Press In Arrest platform has published its latest report on press freedom in Turkey for the month of January.
According to the report, at least 43 journalists appeared before a judge in various trials across 10 cities. Two journalists appeared in court each day in January, the report reveals.
Press In Arrest statistics indicate that in January at least five journalists were detained and one journalist was arrested. Journalist Melis Alphan was sued for a Newroz celebration message she posted on social media six years ago. Moreover, three journalists were interrogated by the police and/or prosecutors under various investigations last month, and six journalists were acquitted, two journalists’ trials were dropped, and two journalists were sentenced to three years and 22 days in prison, in total.
Kurdish journalists were among the most targeted
The state’s aggressive stance against the Kurdish issue was visible in press freedom, since Kurdish journalists were among those who were the most targeted in January, the report reveals.
Diyarbakır (Amed) Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation against Dicle Fırat Journalists Association’s (DFG) co-chair and Mesopotamia Agency (MA) news editor Dicle Müftüoğlu for allegedly “spreading propaganda for a terror organisation”, citing the news stories she posted on her social media accounts. According to the same report, MA’s Istanbul reporter Mehmet Aslan was detained at his home in Istanbul on 5 January under an investigation initiated by the Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, before being arrested for alleged “membership of a terror organisation”.
Press In Arrest data shows that between 1 and 31 January at least 43 journalists appeared before a judge at 29 different trials in Istanbul, Diyarbakır, Ankara, Adıyaman, İzmir, Muğla, Van, Batman, Edirne, Antalya. Twenty-five of these trials were adjourned.
The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) also previously published a co-written statement about press freedom in Turkey and called on Turkish authorities to release the arrested journalists.