European Federation of Journalists

Media Monitoring Report 2020: In Turkey, one in six journalists has an ongoing trial

The Turkish Association of Journalists (GCD) published today its Annual Media Monitoring Report documenting the state of press freedom in Turkey for the year 2020. The report addresses a number of topics such as the impact of the COVID-19, disinformation, the new internet regulation, the situation of imprisoned journalists and journalists currently on trial.

According to the Media Monitoring Report, the pandemic of the century and legal developments throughout the year deepened the deadlock media in Turkey faces.

The working conditions and freedom to report for journalists and media workers were already very difficult. According to the professional evaluation survey, disinformation and violence in the media have persisted in 2020 without slowing down. Data shows that:

  • Only 9% of journalists stated they found data shared by official sources regarding the epidemic to be reliable.
  • out of every 2 journalists was threatened.
  • out of every 4 journalists was subjected to physical violence.
  • out of every 5 journalists was arrested and put-on trial without being detained.
  • out of every 6 journalists has an ongoing trial.
In addition to keeping track of new developments, the report used open sources to compile statistics regarding media ownership, newspaper sales, viewer ratings and internet media for the use of researchers.
  • According to statistics on “the highest circulating 19 newspapers in mainstream media”, 80% of the printed press is directly pro-government.
  • 90% of mainstream TV channels are comprised of channels conducting pro-government broadcasts.
  • Newspapers have yet to recover from the 30% decrease in newspaper sales following the pandemic.
  • The existence of online alternative media outlets, whether newly founded or with high click rates, was found to be significant.
  • The mass media and journalism sector ranked 4th across all sectors in terms of the lowest number of union members. Regardless, a 3.65% increase was observed regarding unionization in the media sector in the last 7 years.
While monitoring the status of journalists and media consumption, the Media Monitoring Report also followed legal processes. Prominent issues hindering freedom of expression in Turkey are as follows:
  • The Press Advertisement Agency (BİK) issued official announcement/advertisement bans to newspapers 86 times amounting 497 days. Meanwhile, RTÜK issued opposition TV channels 10 million TRY in fines, while giving 5 TV shows a total of 31 days in broadcast suspensions, and 10 days of broadcast bans.
  • In the last 5 years, 63,041 people were taken to court on allegations of “insulting the President”; as a result 3,831 were punished. Taking in to consideration the 5-year term of office of the previous two presidents, it was observed that 1011 people were taken to court for the same reasons.


Download the report