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The death of critical journalism in Turkey

Press freedom in Turkey is often assessed on the basis of jailed journalists, but this fails to fully reflect the gravity of the situation if one omits the huge number of journalists who have lost their jobs and are facing an uncertain future and struggling to survive.
IMC TV employees react after their broadcaster's transmission cut by the authorities, based on a government decree, at IMC TV studios in Istanbul, Turkey, October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir - RTSQPFE
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A prominent Turkish journalist who migrated to Europe a few months ago and is convinced she can no longer practice her profession in Turkey has noticed something intriguing in her son, a primary schooler. “He keeps drawing prisons,” the journalist told Al-Monitor. “I was worried about his future in Turkey, but it turns out he, too, was secretly worried about me.” The journalist, who requested anonymity, shared the drawings with Al-Monitor on condition they not be published. In all of them, big prisons reminiscent of a panopticon are depicted in striking detail, including tiny cells with bars, “control points” and other compounds marked as armories, offices and visitor’s rooms.

In the 2016 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders, Turkey ranks 151st out of 180 countries. As of Oct. 12, 92 journalists were behind bars, according a widely referenced tally by Necati Abay, an activist who closely follows and documents the imprisonment cases.

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