Istanbul, July 24 () - Turkey’s Press Council has said censorship is still in place in Turkey, adding the country ranked 149th among 199 countries in press freedom reports, with 21 journalists in jail and a large number of ongoing cases filed against journalists, in a written statement issued to mark the 107th anniversary of Journalists Day.
“First coming out 139 years ago, censorship is still in place,” said the council. “Turkey is ranked 149th among 199 countries in press freedom reports.”
“It is not possible to celebrate July 24 in a festive manner in Turkey, with 21 journalists still in prison and a large number of ongoing cases filed against journalists, although the day has been commemorated since July 24, 1908, when censorship was first ruled out in Turkey,” it said.
Censorship and self-censorship in Turkey were still present in our lives, coming out of fear, discouragement and threats imposed by the governing bodies of Turkey, as well as the police, it added.
The statement also said journalists in Turkey faced imprisonment, dismissal, physical and psychological violence and being accused of supporting terrorism, adding the country had the most comprehensive social media ban in its history, with a mass removal of content and other bans on access to several websites.
Turkish Parliament Speaker İsmet Yılmaz stressed the vitality of press freedom for the fate of democracy, saying press had a bearing on protecting human rights and the sustainability and establishment of a democratic environment, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on July 24.
“The primary function of press is supervision on behalf of the public,” he said.
Republican People’s Party Deputy Head Yakup Akkaya said in a written statement on July 24, it should not be forgotten that democracy had nothing to do with countries where there was no press freedom and censorship by which journalists were kept from freely reporting.
“It is not convincing to tell about any sign of democracy in countries where journalists are barred from freely reporting,” he said.