US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said that this year’s top five jailers of journalists are Iran, China, Myanmar, Turkey, and Belarus, respectively.
According to the CPJ’s annual report, the total number of journalists held in Turkey rose from 18 in 2021 to 40 in 2022 after the arrests of 25 Kurdish journalists in the second half of the year.
CPJ said that Turkey’s independent media remain decimated by government shutdowns, takeovers, and the forcing of scores of journalists into exile or out of the profession.
The journalists’ lawyers told CPJ that the Turkish government jailed the journalists on suspicion of terrorism, as a result of the country’s ongoing efforts to silence those it associates with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party under anti-terror law.
“Many now fear that the latest arrests could signal a fresh assault on press freedom ahead of next year’s elections, especially given the Turkish parliament’s October ratification of a controversial media law mandating prison terms for those deemed to be spreading disinformation,” said CPJ.
The US-based committee added 22 out of the 49 journalists arrested since the start of this year’s uprisings in Iran are women, a reflection of the prominent role they’ve played in covering this women-led uprising.
“Kurds have borne the brunt of the Iranian government’s retaliation against the protests, and at least nine Kurdish journalists are among those in jail,” said CPJ.
Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders have also highlighted the plight of journalists. According to their 2022 report, 3 women journalists and a female media worker have been in provisional detention in Turkey since June 2022, when pro-Kurdish media outlets and production companies faced a new wave of arrests for their alleged support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey imprisoned ten journalists from Kurdish media outlets Mezopotamya News Agency and the all women-based news agency Jin News on 29 October.