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Hundreds of Turkish journalists in jails for criticizing government

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A placard is pictured during a protest by journalists and human right activists in front of the courthouse in Istanbul during the trial of two prominent Turkish journalists.

Turkish journalists have been under great pressure since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took office with hundreds of journalists being jailed for criticizing the government.

According to Turkish daily Aksam, Turkey is the number one violator of freedom of speech and that the government intensified its suppression of press freedom in 2012.

The daily said a large number of journalists critical of the Turkish government were arrested last year because Erdogan does not tolerate any criticism.

Last month, press freedom watchdog, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), named Turkey as the world’s worst jailer of the press in 2012. Reporters Without Borders has also named Turkey as the world’s “biggest prison” for journalists.

According to the CPJ, Turkey detained 49 journalists as of December 1, with dozens of Kurdish reporters and editors held on terror-related charges. A number of journalists are also being held on charges of involvement in anti-government plots.

Turkey is accused of not differentiating between “freedom of expression and terrorism.”

In October, CPJ accused the government of Erdogan of using pressure tactics to encourage self-censorship among journalists.


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