Pro-gov't journalists legitimising arrest of colleagues is dangerous deviance - RSF

Turkey's media purge continues to take a heavy toll on journalists, general and executive director of The Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Christophe Deloir said on Friday in an interview with Euronews. 

"Turkey has become a laboratory in which journalism is completely destroyed," said Deloir, "layoffs, confiscation of media outlets and detention are frequently used methods," he added.

Turkey is one of the countries closely followed by the organisation. "The world’s biggest prison for professional journalists, Turkey (157th) has managed to fall another two places in the past year, which saw a succession of mass trials," RSF Index 2018 report noted. 

Delior said he respected the Turkish journalists who continue to do his job under extreme conditions in Turkey. But he told some Turkish journalists became an accomplice of the attempt to destroy journalism by legitimising what has been done to their colleagues due to the difference of opinion.

"Can a journalist justify the imprisonment of other journalists because they are doing their jobs and that they have another political view? It's dangerous deviance," he said, "I condemn the attitudes of those who justify the arrests." 

Turkey remains the world’s worst jailer of journalists, with at least 68 in prison for their work, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists report published in Dec. 2018.

Although the number is slightly lower than previous years, dozens more have been jailed or released as prosecutors continue to seek arrest warrants and apply new charges, according to the watchdog group. “For the third consecutive year, every journalist imprisoned in Turkey is facing anti-state charges,” CPJ said in the report.