#FreeTurkeyMedia: Artists, journalists rally for imprisoned Turkish journalists
Journalists, artists and activists are responding to a call for solidarity with hundreds of journalists detained by Turkey in the wake of the failed coup attempt in July.
Internationally renowned figures are among those working towards raising awareness on the plight of hundreds of media personalities imprisoned without reason by the Turkish state.
“Turkey is now the world’s biggest jailer of journalists, many of whom have not yet been informed of the charges against them, while more than 100 independent newspapers and broadcasters have been forced to close,” campaign co-creators, freedom of expression advocacy English Pen wrote.
English Pen's campaign is co-sponsored by Amnesty International.
“With just over a week to go until Turkey’s upcoming referendum, on Sunday 16 April, there is widespread concern that the media is unable to perform its role of ensuring that the public is fully informed ahead of the historic decision they will make next week,” the statement said.
The campaign encourages individuals to show support by posting a ‘selfie’ while holding a paper with the hashtag #FreeTurkeyMedia. Among those that have already backed the movement are Mohammed Fahmy and Peter Greste, both of which are journalists that were imprisoned by the Egyptian regime for their reporting.
Ankara’s crackdown, which has targeted a variety of figures, including civil servants, diplomats, teachers and activists, intensified since the failed coup of July 2016, which it blames on US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
The crackdown has also affected foreign journalists, who have been expelled or barred from entry to Turkey.
This includes reporters from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Die Welt, and French news website Les Jours.
In the wake of the failed July 15 putsch, Turkey's government imposed a state of emergency that critics argue has been used to clamp down on critics and opponents of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Legislation recently approved by Turkey's parliament is also set to grant President Erdogan extraordinary powers as part of moves that critics say will lead to further authoritarianism.