Journalists facing uphill battle in Erdoğan’s Turkey - Deutsche Welle

Freedom of the press in Turkey has eroded under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with increasing government pressure and a homogenous pro-government media landscape, Deutsche Welle said on Monday. 

Statements by Turkey’s strongman on Working Journalists' Day on Friday about the importance of press that is free from restriction rang hollow for the country’s journalists working under his tight grip, the article said.

Some 11,000 journalists are unemployed, 114 are in detention, and 1,500 face trials, according to Turkey's Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA).

Erdoğan’s ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) has intensified crackdown on the media following the failed coup attempt in July 2016. Scores of journalists have been imprisoned or harassed with legal challenges and more than 200 media outlets have been closed down. Many of those working at the critical media outlets that have managed to survive have been forced into self-censorship. 

The plight of the country’s journalists has been exacerbated by the fact that trade unions have also been weakened, the article said, pointing to the percentage of unemployed journalists rising by 4.7 percentage points, to 23.8 percent in 2019.

According to the World Press Freedom Index in 2019 by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Turkey placed 157th out of 180 countries. The International Observatory for Human Rights (IOHR) said this month that Turkey remains the worst jailer of journalists globally

After the elimination of dozens of media outlets and the acquisition of Turkey's biggest media group, Doğan, by pro-government conglomerate Demirören Holding in March 2018, the authorities are tightening the noose on the few remnants of pluralism in the media, it said.