The International Press Institute (IPI) claims a report from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has indicated at least 57 journalists are currently in prison in Turkey, which the IPI says is “apparently more than any other country”.
While Iran and China topped lists last December by reportedly jailing some 34 journalists each, Turkey, a candidate for membership in the European Union, has nearly doubled that number five months later, raising questions about the country’s commitment to freedom of the press and the legitimacy of its democratic image.
Last year Journalism.co.uk reported that restrictions on freedom of expression in Turkey had given the European Commission “cause for concern” according to a progress report released in November.
In the annual report, produced to assess progress in European Union membership candidate and potential candidate countries, the commission claimed a “high number” of violations of freedom of expression in Turkey are still being submitted to the European Court of Human Rights.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists the number of journalists in prison worldwide as of 1 December last year, had risen to its highest level since 1996. In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, the CPJ found that 145 reporters, editors and photojournalists were in jail in 28 countries at the time of the report.