Turkey is the world’s top jailer of journalists according to today’s findings by the US-based watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Currently the number of journalists in jail in Turkey is 40, this is a decrease from 61 recorded in October 2012 and down in number since 1st December 2012.
Despite that, Turkey is top of the list for jailing journalists for the second year running, holding more in custody than Iran, China or Eritrea.
Governments primarily used anti-state charges, including treason and terrorism-related offences, to silence 211 critical reporters, bloggers, and editors from around the world, the CPJ found in its 2013 census, released on Wednesday.
“As a NATO member and a regional leader, Turkey should not belong in the list of top press jailers. But from the failure to reform its legislation in a meaningful way to the crackdown on its journalists in the aftermath of the Gezi Park protests, Turkey has grown increasingly repressive despite the modest decline in the number of media workers behind bars,” said the CPJ in a statement on its website.
“It is frankly shocking that Turkey would be the world’s worst jailer of journalists for the second year in a row,” it added.
“Jailing journalists for their work is the hallmark of an intolerant, repressive society,” said CPJ executive director Joel Simon.
In total, Turkey, Iran and China incarcerate over half of the 211 journalists imprisoned around the world in 2013, making it the second worst year since records began in 1990, Agence France-Presse reported. In 2012, there were 232 jailed journalists.
The CPJ said it spoken Turkish officials about the issue in September and was informed by the Justice Ministry that there were 54 journalists jailed on different charges. The CPJ found, however, that out of 54 jailed journalists, 40 of them were jailed for their work, and further concluded that there was insufficient information to determine that the imprisonments in the other 14 cases were work-related and continued its investigation over these cases.