The Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG) released its “September Report on Violations against Journalists” on Tuesday, revealing that the number of imprisoned journalists in Turkey has risen to 63, and that seven journalists were collectively sentenced to 5 years, 9 months and 15 days in prison.
The Association’s report further highlights that the violations against journalists show no signs of abating, emphasising that “journalists persist in upholding the integrity of their profession and defending the public’s right to information, despite facing numerous challenges”. It goes on to say, “Violations against the lives and safety of journalists continued intensively in September, being threatened, mistreated, and frequently prevented from following the news. It is journalists who are subject to the most violations in the area of thought and freedom of expression”.
The trials of a number of imprisoned journalists were held in September. Four media workers were arrested and remanded in custody, increasing the number of journalists behind bars to 63. Among these was Dicle Müftüoğlu, herself co-chair of the Association. The indictment against her was prepared towards the end of September, but the court date has not yet been confirmed. A similar situation applies to Sedat Yılmaz, editor of Mezopotamya Agency.
The report also draws attention to the trials of imprisoned journalists Abdurrahman Gök, M Şah Oruç, Remzi Akkaya and Hamdullah Bayram, stating that “unfortunately, none were released”. Further details are awaited in early October regarding Merdan Yanardağ, General Director of Tele 1 television, who is also in custody.
The Association’s report concludes by noting that “164 pieces of social media content and 268 articles had their access restricted during the month of September.” It also raises concerns about ongoing violations in prisons, stating, “Even within the four walls of the prison, journalists like our co-chair Dicle Müftüoğlu are subjected to numerous violations, indicating the extent of the fear the government has of journalists”.