Turkish prime minister distorts state of press freedom

New York, March 7, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed by the Turkish prime minister’s repeated use of CPJ statistics to misrepresent and undermine the serious repression faced by journalists in Turkey.

“Prime Minister Erdoğan should take no solace from our 2011 finding that eight journalists are in jail for their work,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Turkey is among the democratic countries with the highest number of journalists in prison. Our review of the charges and indictments in more than 100 outstanding cases of imprisoned journalists in Turkey is ongoing, and we will issue a comprehensive report later this year.”

In a speech today, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan cited CPJ’s 2011 imprisoned list to portray general alarm about press freedom as an exaggeration. In a letter to Prime Minister Erdoğan in December, CPJ made clear that his effort to downplay media repression in Turkey was misguided. To date, there has been no response.