WASHINGTON - A new report issued by a Turkish think tank with ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has publicly identified a number of reporters working in Turkey with international organizations, accusing them of bias against the government.
The report, released by the Foundation for Political Economic and Social Research, or SETA, named Turkish journalists currently working for Deutsche Welle, the BBC, Eurovision as well as the Voice of America among others.
The 200-plus page report sites social media posts by specific journalists following the 2016 failed coup attempt against the Erdogan government. Further, it encourages the Turkish public to reach out to government officials when they see coverage by the named journalists of “wrong content directly targeting Turkey.”
The document is being legally challenged by the Turkish Union of Journalists, who say the report illegally “recorded personal information” as well as “inciting people to hatred.”
"The journalists were blacklisted in a file, and their journalism activities were portrayed as crimes," the journalists’union said in court filings.
SETA rejected those claims, saying in a statement that “…it is legitimate for journalists to have a political stance as well as identifying it.”
In the annual Reporters Without Borders ranking of press freedoms, Turkey has been falling steadily, currently coming in at 157th out of 180 rated countries. It also has the highest number of journalists – 135 – currently serving time in jail.