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Turkey experiences severe reduction of free speech, more than 83 journalists jailed, bloggers face charges

Turkey's new law is having a massive censorship impact.
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The “Media Monitoring Report” by the Journalists’ Association of Turkey has revealed that the levels of media censorship are rapidly increasing in Turkey. As a matter of fact, 83 journalists are currently held in prisons and 245 journalists are on trial.

The report states that the new law on digital rights introduced by the Turkish government last year has made it easier for the state to censor journalists and suppress free speech.

Online platforms in particular have been experiencing the most censorship since the law has been made effective. “AKP and MHP representatives who have the majority on the Supreme Board of Radio and Television, RTUK, use the existing regulations as an arbitrary punishment tool,” the report says.

The AKP, MHP, the Nationalist Movement Party, and the Justice and Development Party are a coalition ruling Turkey. RTUK is the state appointed agency that is responsible for monitoring and regulating the content published on both radio and television channels. The agency has already issued nearly 100 penalties on independent media between July and September alone.

Independent media and online media platforms are apparently being affected the most due to the new law. “Digital media platforms are starting to be reached as much as the mainstream media. As a matter of fact, it was seen that a single journalist’s column is shared on social media platforms more than a mainstream newspaper’s total circulation in a three-month period.”

It just doesn’t stop there. The Turkish government doesn’t consider online media journalists as even journalists. They are also denied the official press cards offered to journalists working in mainstream media. “Internet journalists are classified in the office workers sector, not in the journalism sector.”

By considering internet journalists as office workers, they are legally barred from covering any news of the government’s institutions. Internet journalists also face a strong likelihood of arrest if they cover news of street protests.

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