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March 30, 2017

UK media urged to join campaign to free more than 150 journalists jailed in Turkey

By Freddy Mayhew

Journalists and media organisations in the UK are being asked to join Amnesty International’s campaign calling for the release of more than 150 journalists imprisoned in Turkey.

They are victims of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s media crackdown that followed the failed coup against his administration in July last year.

More than 160 newspapers and TV stations have also been closed with the loss of thousands of jobs.

The country has been declared the biggest jailer of journalists in the world by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, with one third of all jailed media workers globally in Turkey’s prisons.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said: “The detention of so many journalists, often for many months without trial, is completely unjustified and seems intended to create a climate of fear in which people censor their thoughts.

“This, combined with the closure of so many media outlets, is happening at a critical time in Turkey’s history, when a referendum will decide whether to change the country’s constitution and create an executive presidency.

“Given such events, the irony is that right now Turkey needs a free press more than ever before.”

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Amnesty is asking journalists to join a Twitter action for the release of Turkish media workers, similar to the campaign on behalf of three Al Jazeera reporters detained for nearly two years in Egypt.

Journalists are asked to use the hashtags #freeTurkeymedia and #journalismisnotacrime in Twitter posts. Appeals to the Turkey Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ can also be made online.

Amnesty is also asking editors and publishers to run editorials and full-page adverts highlighting the plight of the detained Turkish journalists on World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.

Picture: Reuters/Murad Seze

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