Almost 85 percent of Europe’s detained journalists in Turkish jails

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Of the 130 journalists detained in the Council of Europe’s member countries as of Dec. 31, 2018, 110 were jailed in Turkey, according to the 2019 annual report of the council’s Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists.

Press freedom in Europe is more fragile now than at any time since the end of the Cold War with journalists increasingly facing obstruction, hostility and violence as they investigate and report on behalf of the public, the report said.

Turkey remains the world’s biggest jailer of journalists with 110  imprisoned in 2018, while Italy saw the sharpest increase in the number of media freedom alerts reported throughout the year.

The report said that Turkey, along with Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, and Russian Federation had not responded to the any of the Platform’s alerts in 2018. As of 31 December 2018, there were 92 active alerts on Turkey, while 14 new alerts were submitted to the Platform during the year, it said.

According to the Platform, over 200 journalists have been arrested or detained in Turkey on account of their publications, since the country’s July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Arrests of journalists and media workers continued throughout 2018, in particular in the southeast of the country, it said.

The majority of detained journalists are charged with terror related offences, while the broad definition of the concept of terrorist propaganda used by Turkish authorities have been reportedly denounced by the international community, including the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.

The use of prolonged solitary confinement against detained journalists is another issue, the Platform said, adding that journalists Deniz Yücel and Nedim Türfent, who spent months alone, had faced a  treatment tantamount to torture under the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

The evidence obtained through torture has also been deemed admissible by judges in trials against journalists, the Platform said in its 2019 report.

Yücel, a dual German -Turkish national, who had been detained on charges of espionage and terrorism, was released in February after 11 months in jail without an indictment, while Türfent has been in prison since March 2016 on charges relating to his reporting with the Kurdish news agency DİHA, which was shut down by the government in October of the same year.

Source: Ahval News

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