Media News - Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The biggest media trial in Turkey's history has begun in what human rights groups say is an attempt by the government to intimidate the press and punish pro-Kurdish activists. A total of 44 Kurdish journalists appeared in court in Istanbul on various terrorism charges, including accusations that they have supported the KCK, an illegal pan-Kurdish movement that includes the PKK, the armed Kurdistan Workers' party. Of those, 36 have been in pre-trial detention since December. The hearing was delayed after the defendants made an attempt to defend themselves in Kurdish, their mother language, a request denied by the judge. Twelve of the defendants are said to have led a terrorist organisation and 32 are accused of being members of a terrorist organisation. Prosecutors have demanded prison sentences ranging from seven and a half to 22 and a half years. More than 100 journalists are currently in jail in Turkey, more than in Iran or China. Many of them work for Kurdish media outlets. About 800 more face charges and many journalists have been fired or have quit their jobs because of direct or indirect pressure from the Turkish government. (The Guardian)
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