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Turkey is jailing journalists for reporting on coronavirus

They were arrested for "spreading panic and fear" with their reports on the virus, according to Reporters Without Borders
Health workers stand in front of Istanbul University Medical School while a security officer blocks the media

AFP/BULENT KILIC  -   Health workers stand in front of Istanbul University Medical School while a security officer blocks the media

Journalists in Turkey on World Press Freedom Day on Sunday denounced the arrest of 12 reporters over the past month for their publications on COVID-19 and warned about the pressure from the authorities on information related to the virus.

The journalists were arrested for "spreading panic and fear" with their reports on the virus, Erol Önderoglu, the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) representative in Turkey, reported in the daily Bianet.

The newspaper points out that so far this year dozens of journalists have been arrested for reporting on major political events in the country, such as the situation of refugees on the Turkish-Greek border, the Turkish military offensive in Libya or the operation in the Syrian region of Idlib.

Turkey's journalists' associations also recall the recent judicial reform to free 90,000 prisoners to decongest the prisons in the face of the advance of the coronavirus, a measure that did not include imprisoned journalists, politicians and activists.
 

El 10 de marzo de 2020, los periodistas se reunieron frente al Tribunal de Ankara detrás de una pancarta que decía en turco "el periodismo no es un delito"
AFP/ADEM ALTAN - On 10 March 2020, journalists gathered in front of the Ankara Tribunal behind a banner that read in Turkish "Journalism is not a crime".

"We should be a society where news can travel freely. We believe that journalists in prison should be released as soon as possible to ensure peace in the country," the Turkish Journalists' Society (TGC) said in a statement.

Turkey is ranked 154th out of 180 countries analysed in the RSF world press freedom index and is the second state with the most imprisoned reporters, with 85 reporters in prison.