Turkey is at the top of the global list for the number of journalists that have been jailed for doing their job, according to an annual survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
The number of jailed journalists has been climbing every year since 2000 when governments had jailed a total of 81 journalists in the countries in the survey. That has climbed to a record 259 this year – the most since the survey was started in 1990.
Fully a third of those in jail come from Turkey, where 81 journalists are currently sitting in jail after writing reports that displeased the increasingly authoritarian government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. CPJ said that dozens more journalists have been arrested or accused of anti-state activity but have not been included in its list as their arrest cannot be shown to be directly linked to their journalistic work.
All of the 81 journalists imprisoned in Turkey are facing anti-state charges, in the wake of an unprecedented crackdown on “Gulen forces” following a failed coup attempt in the summer. The government in Ankara is blaming US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for masterminding the July 15 botched putsch. The purge has included the shuttering of more than 100 news outlets.
That is also three times more than the 38 journalists jailed by the Chinese government for the same “crime.” Other notable persecutors of press freedoms are Egypt (25), Eritrea (17) and Ethiopia (16).
From the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries the stand out persecutors of journalists are Azerbaijan with 5 journalists in jail, Kazakhstan (3), Russia (2) and Turkmenistan (1).
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