Turkey: the country of unfree press and imprisoned journalists

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Since 1961, Turkey has been celebrating the Day of Journalists on January 10 every year. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hurried to send a congratulatory message to journalists. However, at the same time, he voiced ideas that have nothing to do with media representatives or with the state of press freedom in this country. The message says that the reforms carried out over the past one and a half decades allegedly contributed to the independence of the Turkish media, pluralism and compliance with common democratic criteria.

It should be noted that this assessment is not just a naive mistake, but a blatant lie. Why? Because the leader of the country, setting a record for the number of imprisoned journalists and keeping first place on this indicator in the last three years, simply could not know about it. Undoubtedly, Erdogan is aware of the results of research by international human rights organizations, but he prefers to deceive his own people in a brazen manner.

He prefers to formally encourage journalists to be impartial and talk about the importance of media independence. Whereas, he knows better than anyone what happens to a journalist or media company in Turkey who are trying to show even the slightest signs of impartiality or independence. And if in Turkey something is distinguished by its diversity, then this is not the content of the press, but the tools used against the free press - criminal articles, personal revenge, repression, financial pressure, bankruptcy, etc.

The false content of Erdogan’s message is best exposed by the results of research by international human rights organizations.

For example, according to the report of the human rights organization Reporters Without Borders, in 2018, Turkey ranked 157 out of 180 in terms of media freedom.

And, according to the organization “Committee to Protect Journalists” (CPJ), Turkey ranks first in the number of journalists arrested in 2018.

January 10 in Turkey is officially called the “Day of the acting journalist.” Representatives of the Turkish media are alarmed by the high level of unemployment in the field of journalism - about 30%.

According to the “Turkish Union of Journalists”, 144 journalists are currently arrested in this country, and about 10,000 of 30,000 journalists remain unemployed.

In Turkey, the journalistic community continues to be under pressure. Journalists working in Turkey are constantly at risk of being detained.

With regard to the numerous threats against journalists, there is an atmosphere of absolute impunity. This was repeatedly mentioned in European reports, but the situation only gets worse from year to year. That is why journalistic activity in Turkey is equated with a life-threatening feat.

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