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Published On: Wed, Dec 13th, 2017

Turkey the worst jailer of journalists: CPJ

nsnbc : A new report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) concludes that western failure on the issue of press freedom has led to record high number of journalists jailed for their work with Turkey the worst offender.

Turkey's "Flying Reporter" Hüsna Sari during a rally in 2015, got away with bruises. Jail is worse.

Turkey’s “Flying Reporter” Hüsna Sari during a rally in 2015, got away with bruises and boosted determination to resist oppression.

The report from the CPJ’s editorial director Elana Beiser singles out the United States for its lack of response to the oppression of journalists stating “Far from isolating repressive countries for their authoritarian behavior, the United States, in particular, has cozied up to strongmen such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chinese President Xi Jinping.”

As of December 1, 2017, there are 262 journalists in jail for their work, topping last year’s record high of 259, the CPJ found. The group has been monitoring the issue for about a quarter of a century.

The number of journalists “imprisoned on a charge of ‘false news,’ though modest, rose to a record 21,” CPJ stated, noting Trump’s favored slogan in his own attacks on the press.

For the second year in a row, Turkey is the worst offender with 73 reporters behind bars. Despite Erdogan’s “repressive tactics” against the media in the wake of the July 2016 attempted coup, Trump has “praised him as a friend” and NATO allies are “bound by Turkey’s role in harboring Syrian refugees and other cooperation agreements,” CPJ stated.

More than 2,500 journalists have lost their jobs as part of post-coup closures of media outlets in Turkey and 800 have had their press cards revoked, according to the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). Turkey has denied it jails journalists for their reporting.

“There is not a single journalist who is under custody in Turkey for writing stories,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in February. “Those who revealed themselves as journalists have either supported terrorism or terrorist organizations.”

It should be noted that even members of parliament and mayors have been jailed in Turkey for allegedly having supported a terrorist organization or propagandizing for a terrorist organization without being a member, for publicly suggesting that the Turkish government should resume peace talks with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).

With regard to China – even though many who tout themselves as liberal or progressives won’t like to hear it – citizens, including journalists are jailed on charges such as “subverting national security – by criticizing the “people’s republic’s” communist party, the political system and the government. These sentences are widely perceived as severe and systematic violations of international law and human rights. The United Nations Human Rights Committee is clear and unambiguous with regard to these problems. Speech that is considered insulting, even speech that insults those in position of power, should never be the basis of a criminal prosecution. (emphasis added).

CH/L – nsnbc 13.12.2017

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