THE IMPRISONING OF journalists is yet again in the spotlight in Turkey as it has now been revealed that out of thirty-two jailed women journalists, fourteen of these are in Turkey.
The reporters have been incarcerated for their coverage of various topical issues that range from corruption, human rights and politics across the world.
This is according to a U.S. based press organization.
On Friday announced the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a network defending press freedom, said Turkey comes in the first on the list, breaking down top jailers of women journalists. The second on the list is China, which has seven women journalists behind bars.
“As the largest jailer of journalists in the world, it’s no surprise that Turkey has the most female journalists behind bars. Fourteen of the sixty-eight journalists jailed there are women; most detained on anti-state charges,” the CPJ stated factually as the globe noted International Women’s Day.
Ahead of #InternationalWomensDay , CPJ’s @sarahguinee highlights the cases of 32 female journalists imprisoned across the world. Their crime? Journalism. #JournalismIsNotACrime #IWD2019 https://t.co/b38mwXYFsJ pic.twitter.com/wFjH9FxB8O
— Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) March 7, 2019
The CPJ detailed the cases of journalists imprisoned, saying Ayse Nazli Ilicak and Hatice Duman, two women journos listed by the organization are serving life sentences over terrorism charges.
Ilicak, a prominent journalist, is among many journalists detained following a coup attempt in 2016, over her criticism and columns before the coup. She was blamed and sentenced for “aiding” the Gulen Movement, a group the Ankara administration accuses of masterminding the coup attempt.
“Evidence cited against Ilıcak in an indictment includes a notebook, social media posts, a TV debate she hosted, during which two guests allegedly sent subliminal messages in favor of a military coup, her 2012 book, and newspaper columns she wrote in 1980,” the CPJ said.
Duman, the longest detained woman journalist according to the organization, was accused of being a member of the banned Marxist-Leninist Communist Party, producing propaganda, and attempting to change the constitutional order by force. CPJ said it found the charges unsubstantiated upon viewing court documents.
Hanim Busra Erdal, a columnist, and reporter covering crime and politics for Zaman and Yeni Hayat, dailies affiliated with the Gulen Movement, just like her colleague Aysenur Parildak, are jailed over trumped up terror-related charges.
“Turkish officials detained Erdal as part of a broad purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen. After they raided her Istanbul apartment, police arrested Erdal at her family’s home in western Turkey. In court, prosecutors cite articles by Zaman and Yeni Hayat, her social media posts and employment by Zaman as evidence Erdal is a member of a terrorist organization. The journalist says she is strip-searched,” the report painted the grim picture.
A Turkish court in December sentenced journalist Ece Sevim Öztürk to more than three years of imprisonment after nationalist, pro-government news outlets accused her of involvement with the Gulen group, according to the report.
She was broadcasting interviews and investigative reports on her YouTube channel where she questioned who was behind the coup attempt and put a question mark on Turkish authorities if they were aware of the military rebellion before it took place.
The court ordered her release under a travel ban pending her appeal, the CPJ documented.
The remaining women journalists on the list worked for some leftist and pro-minority, Kurdish media outlets.
Aslı Ceren Aslan from Ozgur Gelecek, Meltem Oktay from Dicle News Agency (DIHA), Isminaz Temel and Seda Taşkın from Mezopotamya News Agency, Reyhan Hacıoğlu and Hicran Ürün from Özgürlükçü Demokrasi daily, Reyhan Çapan from Özgürlükçü Gündem daily, Semiha Şahin and Pınar Gayıp from Etkin News Agency are all facing terrorism charges by Turkish authorities.