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Journalist gets 3 years in prison for disseminating terrorist propaganda on social media

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A Turkish court has sentenced a journalist to three years in prison on conviction of disseminating terrorist propaganda in her social media posts, the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya news agency reported on Thursday.

The sentence was handed down by the Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court to Beritan Canözer, a reporter for JinNews, due to tweets she posted on her own account in 2014-2015 and on another account named “Beritan Sarya” in 2020.

The court did not suspend the sentence due to the fact that Canözer was previously convicted on the same charges.

Canözer’s lawyer, Resul Temur, is expected to appeal the decision, according to a report by the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA), a non-profit organization working in the fields of free speech, journalism, internet freedoms and the right to information.

It is common for journalists in Turkey, which has a poor record on freedom of the press, to face threats, physical attacks and legal harassment due to their work.

Rights groups routinely accuse the Turkish government of trying to keep the press under control by imprisoning journalists, eliminating media outlets, overseeing the purchase of media brands by pro-government conglomerates and using regulatory authorities to exert financial pressure, especially after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan survived a failed coup in July 2016.

Turkey, which is among the top jailers of journalists in the world, was ranked 149th among 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2022 World Press Freedom Index, released in early May.

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