DFG: 39 journalists arrested, 76 sentenced in 2022

The report published by the Dicle Firat Journalists Association (DFG) said that in 2022, 39 journalists were arrested and 76 sentenced.

The Dicle Firat Journalists Association (DFG) published a report on the violations of rights suffered by journalists in 2022. According to the report, 39 journalists were arrested and 76 sentenced.

The report said: "Unfortunately, we closed 2022, which we entered with the hope of a year in which freedom of the press and expression would be ensured, with a different picture. The government increased the war in every field, targeted journalists as well as all the opposition during the year, in order to strengthen its seat. The European Union member standards that the AKP said would follow when it first came to power have been violated and the government actually acted  in the opposite  direction, passing legislation to abolish the freedom of the press and expression during its 20-year period. However, it took the biggest of these steps to 'kill journalism' in 2022."

The statement added: "When we look at each of the violations carried out during the year, it is possible to see how afraid the government is of the truth. For this reason, it  tried to prevent the journalists who were following the news in the field using police violence. Many times, journalists have been the first target of police attacks in social protests. Many journalists were beaten during these protests, prevented from taking images and photographs, or threatened with death by holding a gun to their heads, as was the case in Van. Journalists covering the police attack on the march after the 1 September rally in Van were targeted. All were subjected to police violence and threatened with death by the police holding a gun to their heads. Journalists' news coverage was blocked 132 times during the year, and 65 journalists were attacked during these blockages."

The statement continued: "One of the biggest blows to the freedom of press and expression during the year was the 'Censorship law' introduced by the government with the name of 'Disinformation law'."

Some violations in 2022 are as follows:

"56 websites were closed during the year, access to 1,109 news and 2,210 social media content was blocked. After the bomb in Taksim, access to social media accounts and websites was blocked and access to the internet reduced, although it had no legal basis.

Investigations were opened against 68 journalists, and 65 of them turned into lawsuits. In the ongoing trials against 810 journalists, 76 journalists were sentenced. In these trials, journalists were sentenced to a total of 1 life imprisonment, 181 years, 6 months and 22 days in prison, and a fine of 8 million 105 thousand 707 TL.

The only Kurdish-language newspaper in Turkey, Xwebûn, was banned from being distributed many times during the year, despite the absence of a confiscation order. 

39 journalists were arrested during the operations carried out during the year to silence the journalists. In these operations, Kurdish journalists were targeted in particular and 27 free press workers were arrested in the last 6 months and put inside four walls. 

22 people, including 20 journalists, were detained in the police operation carried out on 8 June. The homes and workplaces of journalists, including our association's co-chairman, Serdar Altan, were raided. During the searches made there, all the equipment of our colleagues was confiscated. In fact, the police, who went a little further in this operation, kept the studios of the production companies under a blockade for more than 30 days. Trying to prevent the work of those who were outside, the police presented all the equipment they seized, the newspaper archives and the photographs of the martyrs of the free press as "criminal evidence". 

After 8 days of detention, 16 of our colleagues who were brought to Diyarbakır Courthouse were arrested because of their news and programs. Although 7 months have passed, no indictment has been filed against 16 journalists, and all objections to detention have been rejected. 

On 25 October, 11 journalists were detained in an Ankara-based operation in raids on their homes and workplaces. The violence against our colleagues, who were detained under torture, continued throughout the 4 days they were held in the police headquarters. 

On 29 October, 9 out of 11 journalists were arrested, once again trying to undermine the Kurdish journalists' struggle to reveal the truth. Our friends, who appeared before the judge, were asked why they became members of our association in an attempt to criminalize their news as well as our association.

During the year, 1 journalist was killed within the borders of Turkey, and 2 journalists were killed in South Kurdistan and Northern and Eastern Syria. 

On 4 October, in the city of Sulaymaniyah , Jineology Academy Member and journalist Nagihan Akarsel was assassinated. It turned out that the perpetrator, who was sentenced for criminal offenses in Turkey, was assigned by the MIT to murder Akarsel. Turkey's Ambassador to Baghdad also made a statement embracing the assassination. 

On 20 November, Hawar News Agency (ANHA) reporter Isam Ebdullah lost his life during the airstrikes of Turkey against Northern and Eastern Syria. Ebdullah, who went to the region to report the attacks, lost his life in the second bombardment."

The report ended with these remarks: "As journalists, we know that a tough year of struggle awaits us. We will continue to defend and fight for the freedom of the press and expression, as well as the right to receive information in 2023, when attacks increase as the election calendar approaches."