In a report entitled, "Turkey's Press Freedom Crisis
," the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned the widespread criminal prosecution and jailing of journalists in Turkey.
The report documents 76 journalists imprisoned as of August 1, 2012, at least 61 of whom were being held in direct relation to their newsgathering activities.
The report alleges that authorities "conflated the coverage of banned groups and the investigation of sensitive topics with outright terrorism or other anti-state activity." About 30 percent of journalists in prison in August 2012 were accused of taking part in anti-government plots or being members of outlawed political groups.
CPJ cited a "harsh anti-press tone set at the highest levels of government," along with authorities' selective use of the penal code, anti-terror legislation and the criminal procedure code to target journalists.
The media watchdog recalled a previous campaign perpetrated against journalists in Turkey in 1996, during which as many as 78 journalists were jailed.
According to CPJ's annual prison census, the number of journalists currently imprisoned in Turkey exceeds that in Iran and China.