The 2017 World Press Freedom Index of the Reporters without Borders (RSF) has seen Turkey as having the world biggest prison for journalists.
The RSF reports released recently also revealed that the country is 58 point-decrease over the past 13 years, lagging just behind Rwanda, Belarus and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In a statement released by the organisation in Norwegian capital of Oslo during the launch event of the index, said the state of emergency in Turkey has allowed the authorities to eliminate dozens of media outlets with the stroke of a pen, reducing pluralism to a handful of low-circulated and targeted publications.
According to Reporters Without Boarders, “Turkey is again the world’s biggest prison for professional journalists, with members of the press spending more than a year in prison before trial and long jail sentences becoming the new norm—in some cases, journalists are sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of a pardon.”
Recall that no fewer than one hundred and eighty-nine media houses have been shut down, while 319 journalists arrested since July 15, 2016 fathom coup in Turkey.
While detained journalists and closed media outlets are denied any effective legal recourse, censorship of websites and online social media has also reached unprecedented levels.
Rights groups have urged Turkey to release all journalists but to no avail while President Erdogan and his Ministers have repeatedly claimed that there are no journalists in prison.
Reports also said that rule of law was fading memory under the now all-powerful president, even as constitutional court rulings are no longer automatically implemented.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Turkey accounted for a third of all journalists imprisoned worldwide in 2016.
“Turkey has a long history of putting journalism on trial, imprisoning reporters under successive military regimes as well as under Erdogan’s AKP government. In the past decade, Erdogan himself has sued thousands of critics for insulting him, among them many journalists.”