The press freedom watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Friday called on the Turkish authorities to stop prosecuting journalists covering Kurdish issues.
The CPJ’s latests statement on press freedom in Turkey came after a court in the Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakır this week charged 17 Kurdish journalists and a media worker with membership of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The journalists face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty on the terrorism charges. The defendants, fifteen of whom are remanded in custody, deny any links to the PKK.
“The Turkish authorities must immediately release the journalists and the media worker who have been behind bars since June 2022, and stop charging members of the press reporting on Turkey’s Kurdish issue under the country’s terrorism laws,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna, in New York.
“Turkey has long been one of the world leading jailers of journalists and this latest crackdown shows authorities’ fear of any semblance of independent reporting,” de la Serna added.
According to CPJ’s 2022 report, Turkey was the world’s fourth-worst jailer of journalists, with 40 joournalists behind bars as of last December.