Journalists detained, harassed for Turkey earthquake coverage

People walk past collapsed and damaged residential buildings in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake in Besni, Turkey, on March 1, 2023. (Reuters/Jonathan Spicer)

Since an earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on February 6, Turkish authorities have repeatedly harassed and detained journalists covering the disaster’s aftermath.

Police in the eastern province of Osmaniye arrested journalists Ali İmat and İbrahim İmat, and authoritie in the capital city of Ankara detained Gökhan Özbek, publisher of the independent news website and online broadcasting platform 23 Derece.

Separately, members of the Presidency of Religious Affairs, a Turkish government body that oversees religious issues, confiscated and damaged equipment from three Greek freelance journalists in the eastern city of Antakya.

These violations took place in the context of Turkey’s ongoing crackdown on the press. The German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle recently announced that it plans to close its Turkey office after authorities refused to renew its license over a technical error in its application forms.

Turkey was the world’s fourth worst jailer of journalists, with 40 behind bars at the time of CPJ’s December 1, 2022, prison census.

Analysis by CPJ experts

Li Zehua, an independent Chinese video journalist who uses the name Kcriss, spoke to CPJ about his experience reporting from Wuhan at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Li Zehua)

*Chinese journalist held for reporting on Wuhan COVID outbreak wishes he’d done more

* Newly released from a Turkish prison, Kurdish journalist Nurdim Turfent reflects on sham prosecution

* Iran’s seizure of journalists’ devices raises fears of fresh arrests, prosecutions

*CPJ interviewed Nicaraguan journalists Juan Lorenzo Holmann and Miguel Mendoza, who were were among 222 political prisoners unexpectedly released by Nicaraguan authorities and deported to the United States on February 9.

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Journalists Attacked

Martinez Zogo


Martinez Zogo, the managing director of the privately owned Cameroonian radio broadcaster Amplitude FM, was found dead on January 22, 2023.

Five days earlier, unidentified attackers had abducted Zogo from his car in Yaoundé, the capital. The attackers chased Zogo, who had recently reported on alleged public embezzlement involving a prominent businessman, to the gate of the local gendarmerie office near the journalist’s home, where he had sought help.

Authorities have arrested several people in connection with the murder, including the businessman Zogo had reported on and prominent members of Cameroon’s security forces.

In nearly 8 out of 10 cases, the murderers of journalists go free. CPJ is waging a global campaign against impunity.

The Committee to Protect Journalists promotes press freedom worldwide.

We defend the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal.

journalists killed in 2023 (motive confirmed)
imprisoned in 2022
missing globally