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UK Parliament urges foreign ministry to do more for media freedom in Turkey

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A report published on Monday by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons called on the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to do more in public to shame Turkey, along with Malta and Saudi Arabia, for their persecution of the media.

Turkey has prosecuted hundreds of journalists on terrorism charges since a failed coup in 2016.

A total of 399 journalists are behind bars, the report said, citing Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and adding that “around half of those are concentrated in just five countries: China, Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia.”

According to RSF, Turkey is ranked 157th out of 180 countries in the media freedom index.

The International Press Institute (IPI) reported that 136 journalists are currently in Turkish prisons.

Numerous violations of media freedom were reported in Turkey, the parliamentary committee said, adding that the FCO was accused of not being willing to publicly criticize the Turkish government.

“The journalists who wrote to us from there were too fearful of [reprisal] to have their names or views published,” it added.

“The FCO should designate Turkey a Human Rights Priority Country. It should criticise the violations taking place there publicly and forcefully.”

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