Turkey jails five journalists for 'terrorist propaganda'

Turkey jails five journalists for 'terrorist propaganda'
2 min read
17 January, 2018
The five journalists, were accused of participating in 'terrorist propaganda' on behalf of the banned Kurdish Worker’s Party.
A Turkish court in Istanbul jailed five journalists for covering 'terrorist propaganda' [AFP]
Five journalists were handed jail terms by a court in Istanbul on Tuesday after being accused of taking part in "terrorist propaganda", Turkish media reported.

Four of those condemned received 18-month sentences for participating in a solidarity campaign with the now-defunct pro-Kurd daily Ozgur Gundem, according to the private Dogan news agency.

The paper’s editor-in-chief, Huseyin Akyol, was given three years and nine months behind bars, Dogan said, adding that the court noted a "lack of remorse" during his trial.

The five media workers, who weren’t in court on Tuesday, stood accused of participating in "terrorist propaganda" on behalf of the banned Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK).

According to the P24 press freedom website, there are 151 journalists in Turkish prisons, most of whom were detained under the state of emergency imposed after 2016’s attempted coup.

The five journalists sentenced on Tuesday are currently at liberty pending confirmation of the verdict on appeal, the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders said.

This comes after a rights watchdog declared Turkey as among countries experiencing the "most serious crisis in decades" for democracy worldwide.

"A long list of troubling developments around the world contributed to the global decline in 2017, but perhaps most striking was the accelerating withdrawal of the United States from its historical commitment to promoting and supporting democracy," Freedom House president Michael Abramowitz said in a statement on Tuesday.

He added that the American leader's "admiration" for "some of the world's most loathsome strongmen and dictators" contributed to emboldening authoritarian regimes.

Ambramowitz said states such as Turkey, which "seemed like promising success stories" are "sliding into authoritarian rule".

Scoring 32 out of 100 on the organisation's freedom index, Turkey declined to "Not Free" category from "Partly Free" for the first time since the register began 18 years ago.