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Turkey: Journalists bullied, censored by government over earthquake coverage

The post-quake experience of Turkey’s media offers clues as to what forms of censorship Ankara could employ in the upcoming election season.
Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MP Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu holds a photograph depicting censorship while attending a session on a government-sponsored bill that criminalizes "disinformation" at the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) on October 13, 2022, in Ankara. (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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The earthquake disaster in southeastern Turkey has brought more pressure on the country’s already muted media as the government seeks to contain popular anger over its response to the tragedy, which hit just months before crucial elections.

With most of Turkey’s media long under government control, independent media outlets have faced various forms of pressure since the Feb. 6 quakes — from the detention and bullying of their reporters on the ground to financial penalties and broadcasting bans. Despite their limited resources, the impact of independent media appears to scare the government. The post-quake experience offers a clue as to what means of censorship Ankara might employ in the run-up to the elections, due in June at the latest.

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