Freedom of press in Turkey at historic low

Turkey’s ‘historically low’ ranking can be attributed, according to the group, to ‘the frenzied proliferation of lawsuits, incarcerations and court sentencing targeting journalists’

 Turkey’s 'historically low' ranking can be attributed, according  to the group, to 'the frenzied proliferation of lawsuits, incarcerations  and court sentencing targeting journalists.' DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan  ALTINI?IK
DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINI?IK
The latest annual freedom of the press index by the international group Reporters Without Borders has ranked Turkey 138th among 175 countries, just above Ethiopia and Russia, and 16 spots lower than last year.
Turkey’s “historically low” ranking can be attributed, according to the group, to “the frenzied proliferation of lawsuits, incarcerations and court sentencing targeting journalists.”
In its report, the organization also noted the high number of Kurdish journalists and other reporters covering the Kurdish issue among those tried or arrested.
Currently, 47 members of the press in Turkey are under arrest and being tried, while more than 700 criminal and civil cases involving journalists are ongoing. The Turkish Penal Code contains 27 articles that limit press freedom, as do two articles in the Anti-Terror Law.
Though North European countries remained atop the Reporters Without Borders list, declining levels of freedom were observed in that part of the world as well, the group noted in its summary of the report, titled, “Europe falls from its pedestal, no respite in the dictatorships.”
“Reporters Without Borders has repeatedly expressed its concern about the deteriorating press freedom situation in the European Union and the 2010 index confirms this trend,” the group wrote. Thirteen out of 27 EU members are in the top 20, but some of the other 14 are not doing so well.
“Italy is 49th, Romania is 52nd and Greece and Bulgaria are tied at 70th,” the report noted. “The European Union is not a homogenous whole as regards media freedom. On the contrary, the gap between good and bad performers continues to widen.”
The least-free countries in terms of press freedom are Rwanda, Yemen, China, Sudan, Syria, Burma, Iran, Turkmenistan, North Korea and, at dead last, Eritrea, according to the index. These countries are “marked by persecution of the media and a complete lack of news and information,” Reporters without Borders said. “The press freedom situation keeps on deteriorating in these countries and it is getting harder to say which is worse than the other.”


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