Sunday, April 07, 2013

Turkey's Unfree Press

I'd known the media was under pressure in Turkey, but I had not realized how bad things have gotten:
Fearful of antagonising Turkey’s autocratic prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, media bosses (who have diverse business interests) have begun a cull. Many recall the $2.5 billion fine slapped on the Dogan Group, Turkey’s biggest media conglomerate, in 2009. Its owner, Aydin Dogan, was forced to shrink his empire and dump some critics of Mr Erdogan before the pressure eased.
By some counts scores of journalists have been sacked (soon after she started this story, your correspondent was dropped as a columnist by a local paper). Yet Ercan Ipekci, president of the Turkish Journalists Union, calls the sacked hacks “the luckier ones”. Turkey is now the world’s leading jailer of journalists. Estimates vary, but at least 49 are behind bars. The World Press Freedom Index 2013, recently published by Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based lobby group, ranked Turkey 154th among 179 countries, behind such places as Mali and Afghanistan.



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