BRUSSELS – On this World Press Freedom Day, we celebrate all the journalists around the world for working tirelessly to ensure our right to information. We reaffirm our commitment to press freedom, which holds an indispensable place in the defense of human rights.
In the context of Turkey, there is not much cause for celebration.
In 2019, Turkey continued to compete with China for the title of “world leader in jailing journalists,” incarcerating at least 47 journalists throughout the year.
In the 2020 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Turkey ranked 154th out of 180 countries, with a score lower than any other country in Europe, including Russia and Belarus.
More than 100 journalists and media workers are spending this World Press Freedom Day in behind bars.
Their crime: reporting, writing or tweeting their opinions, speaking out inconvenient truths. In other words, doing their job.
For that, most of them faced absurd charges of terrorism. And now, they have been left out of an early release law enacted by the government to ease overcrowding in prisons amid the Covid-19 pandemic which poses a particularly grave threat to some of them due to their age or preexisting conditions.
Meanwhile, the government-controlled judiciary continues to stamp out the last vestiges of independent reporting.
We call on the international community and the European Union in particular to urge the Turkish government to immediately release all journalists from prison.