For the second consecutive year, Turkey jailed more journalists than any other country, with Iran and China close behind, in an annual report released by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
“Jailing journalists for their work is the hallmark of an intolerant, repressive society,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said in a statement with the report.
The CPJ found 211 journalists were behind bars in a survey taken on Dec. 1. The report noted the figure does not include many journalists who were imprisoned and released throughout the year. The CPJ said this was the second highest number of journalists jailed in its survey, topped only by the 232 in 2012.
Other countries on the list of the top 10 worst jailers of journalists were Eritrea, Vietnam, Syria, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Egypt and Uzbekistan.
“It is disturbing to see the number of jailed journalists rise in … Vietnam and Egypt,” Simon said. “But it is frankly shocking that Turkey would be the world’s worst jailer of journalists for the second year in a row.”
Despite being a democracy and a key NATO ally of the United States, a number of factors contribute to Turkey’s ranking as the leading jailer of journalists. The country has broad legislation to fight terrorism that critics say allows it to prosecute government critics as terrorists.
Until the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan began peace talks in recent years, Turkey waged a multi-decade conflict with armed rebels fighting for Kurdish autonomy that claimed thousands of lives.