LONDON: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has urged Turkey to “stop harassing journalists and prosecuting them on trumped up charges,” following a series of “baseless and harassing" charges against reporters.
The NGO, which is dedicated to protecting the rights of journalists and their free expression worldwide, highlighted a number of recent court cases involving reporters in the country.
On Thursday, the CPJ said, a Turkish court convicted freelance journalist Sabiha Temizkan of “making terrorist propaganda,” and sentenced her to 15 months in prison for a tweet made in 2014.
She tweeted a news headline about the fall of an Iraqi town to Daesh, and said that she forgot to add the link to the story. The court argued that the story’s headline violated the law.
The day before Temizkan’s sentencing, on Wednesday, another Istanbul court rejected an appeal by exiled journalist Can Dündar, which allowed the authorities to seize his assets held in Turkey.
Two Bloomberg reporters — are facing trial in the coming days, the CPJ said, alongside three other journalists and 33 co-defendants.
They will face charges of sharing “false, wrong or deceptive information” to affect the markets, and face possible jail terms of five years.
Bloomberg is a media organization dedicated to covering financial news and market movements worldwide.
“The Turkish authorities persist in filing baseless and harassing charges against journalists for doing their jobs,” Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, said in New York. The charges “are purely retaliatory” and “must be dropped immediately.”
“None of these journalists has committed any crime, let alone sharing terrorist propaganda, spreading false information about the economy or any other ludicrous charge authorities may try to cook up.”
Turkey is notorious for its harsh treatment of journalists and constraints on free speech. It ranks 154 out of 180 on Reporters Without Borders’ 2020 World Press Freedom Index.