Women journalists in Turkey suffered at least 161 rights violations and have faced heavy jail sentences in the first seven months of 2022, the Mesopotamia Women Journalists’ Platform (MKGP) said in a report.
Twelve women journalists have been handed jail sentences this year, with their combined sentences amounting to nearly 24 years of jail time, the report said.
Speaking at a press conference in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır (Amed) to announce the report’s publication on Monday, MKGP spokeswoman Roza Metina described widespread harassment of women journalists by officials in Turkey.
Eighteen women journalists reported physical harassment by police while reporting in the field, while Turkish prosecutors have opened investigations into 10 journalists and opened court cases against a further 12, Metina said.
The report lists a range of other violations suffered by female journalists in the country, ranging from online abuse to physical assault. In May alone, seven journalists were attacked, six were detained by police, four faced threats and two were victims of violence.
And, with the region’s politics mired in violence in recent years, women journalists face even greater threats.
The MKGP’s 8 Aug press conference marked the eight-year anniversary of the journalist Deniz Fırat, who was killed when Islamic State jihadists shelled Makhmour (Maxmur), a refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan.
“We will continue to follow in Deniz’s footsteps and pursue the truth,” said Jinnews editor Habibe Eren during the press conference. “Even in the most difficult conditions, we will continue to use our camera, our pen, and speak out.”
Journalists have long been under severe pressure in Turkey, which the Committee to Protect Journalists has consistently recorded as one of the world’s largest jailer of journalists over the past decade.
Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government denies that any journalists are in jail for their work, accusing those in detention of links to terrorist groups.
However, critics say the AKP has muzzled the country’s mainstream media through its business dealings with media owners, while using its control of the judiciary and police force to silence independent journalists.