In the World Press Freedom Index published annually by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) organization, Turkey ranked 149th out of 180 countries this year. According to the index; out of 180, freedom status is “good” in 8, “satisfactory” in 40, “problematic“ in 62, ”bad“ in 42 countries, including Turkey, and ”very bad“ in 28 countries.
Turkey, which was ranked 98th in the World Press Freedom Index in 2005, has been in constant decline in its place on the list and declined to 138th in 2010, 149th in 2015, and 154th in 2020 due to intense and various pressures on journalism.
According to the RSF report, Turkey, which stood out one place in the list last year due to the bad course in the neighboring countries, and in the last year, mass actions against violence against journalists, some gains in legal claims, positive decisions from some courts with the view that ‘the pressure was excessive’, and the decrease in arrests of journalists, placed Turkey 149th thanks to the performance.
The following statements were included in the RSF Index, the 20th of which was announced this year, indicating the conditions under which journalism is performed in relation to Turkey:
“Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Presidency and authoritarianism, endowed with excessive powers, were accompanied by a disregard for press freedom and interference with the judicial system. Although the judiciary made arrests at Erdogan’s request, some judges began to voice ‘excessive pressure’: Some journalists were acquitted in arbitrary prosecutions based on ‘insulting the President’, ‘membership in an organization’, or ‘propaganda of an organization’. Journalists are now under judicial control instead of arrest. In July 2021, journalists took mass action for the first time after the declaration of a State of Emergency (OHAL) after AFP photojournalist Bulent Kilic was detained in a violent manner. Two journalists have been killed in Turkey in the last two years: Güngör Arslan, owner of Ses Kocaeli newspaper, on 19 February 2022; Bursa Rahmet FM employee Hazım Özsu also died as a result of the armed attacks they suffered in March 2021. Murder suspects have been arrested.”
Norway took the lead in the RSF Press Freedom Index, followed by Denmark and Switzerland. Among the former communist countries, Estonia (4) and Lithuania (9) entered the top 10 in the RSF ranking. Bulgaria (91), the last in Europe in the last report, was replaced by Greece (108).
In the RSF Index, in 28 countries where the media freedom situation is “very bad”, the media freedom went back 10 years as a result of the February 2021 coup in Myanmar (176), China (175), Turkmenistan (177), Iran (178), Eritrea. (179) and North Korea (180) were the last countries.