Dimitri Bettoni 6 October 2023
Mission delegation in Ankara

Turkey’s press freedom crisis has deepened further in the last year, five international media freedom and journalism organizations say

Journalists face steep harassment and intimidation for their work, including arbitrary imprisonment and prosecution, while those responsible for attacks and threats against the press enjoy alarming levels of impunity.

A key topic was Turkey’s disinformation law. Despite authorities assured that the provision would not be used to punish journalists, in the past year at least 20 media workers were targeted (with three jailed) on the basis of the contested law, mainly in relation to coverage of the February 2023 earthquakes.

Physical safety remains an issue of grave concern, with alarming examples of threats to reporters’ safety, while authorities failing to conduct effective investigations and provide safety measures. Meanwhile, politicians, government authorities, and the courts continue to equate critical journalism with “terrorist propaganda”, disinformation, or a threat to national security, further increasing journalists’ physical and legal vulnerability.

The general legal frawork further deteriorated. Mounting legal harassment and the systematic use of pretrial detention, effectively resulting in punishment without conviction, are worrying trends that are paired with the degraded efficacy of the Constitutional Court in pushing lower courts to implement its rulings, and the Turkish Parliament to address violations identified by the Court.

A concerning pattern of visa denials, delays, and arduous procedures appeared for Turkey journalists applying for visas to Europe. This trend undermines the ability of Turkey’s journalists to build and sustain links to their peers abroad.

Led by the International Press Institute (IPI) and IPI’s Turkey National Committee, the mission included representatives from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT), and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Full mission statement in English available here .


This publication was produced within the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), co-funded by the European Commission. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa and its partners and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.