Saturday

16th Dec 2017

Turkey ranks lowest in Europe's press freedom index

  • One in seven people live in a country with a 'free' press, says Freedom House (Photo: Hindrik S)

Europe maintains the overall highest press freedoms worldwide despite rollbacks in Greece, Montenegro, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Among the 42 countries ranked in Europe in a report out on Thursday (1 May) by the US-based NGO Freedom House, Turkey has seen the greatest decline.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The NGO scales the rankings by looking at how media is affected by a country's laws, politics, and economy.

Media in Turkey was previously rated as "partly free". The NGO has now ranked it as "not free".

Recent crackdowns and restrictive provisions in Turkey's criminal code along with its Anti-Terrorism Act means more and more journalists are being jailed.

As of December last year, 40 were behind bars, making Turkey the world's leading jailer of journalists.

On Monday, a Turkish columnist was sentenced to 10 months in prison reportedly because of a typo in a Tweet.

Onder Aytac of an opposition newspaper claims he unintentionally inserted the letter K in a Tweet about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The extra letter means he told Erdogan to "fuck off".

Greece and Montenegro slipped in the partly free category.

Greece dropped in part because of the forced government shut down of the public broadcaster Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) and an increase in libel suits and surveillance against journalists.

Bombs targeting journalists and news outlets in Montenegro, along with government efforts to cut funding of critical media are among the reasons behind its drop in the press freedom index.

The UK, for its part, maintains a free press but dropped in the category after government authorities used the Terrorism Act to detain the partner of investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald.

UK authorities last year also raided the offices at The Guardian newspaper and forced the editors to destroy hard drives with data on US-led mass surveillance.

Other EU member states in the partly free category include Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania.

The Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden were ranked as the world's most free in terms of press. The worst performer on the global stage was North Korea, followed by Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Around 14 percent of the world's population live in country with a free press. At 44 percent, most live where there is no press.

Freedom House, for its part, says the overall global rankings means press freedoms have reached the lowest level in over a decade.

“We see declines in media freedom on a global level, driven by governments' efforts to control the message and punish the messenger,” said Karin Karlekar, project director of the report, in a statement.

Governments step up Internet surveillance

At a separate event on hate speech in the media in Brussels last week, organised by the International Federation of Journalists, a top Google official said more and more governments are cracking down on the Internet.

"In recent years, months, we are really seeing a crackdown on the Internet," said William Echikson, a spokesperson for the internet search giant.

Echikson noted that at least 17 countries have blocked the social video sharing website YouTube at one time or another.

"We are receiving more and more threats about content on YouTube everywhere around the globe," he said.

Echiskon said the recent mass surveillance revelations by Edward Snowden have led to an increasing number of governments wanting to control the Internet.

He noted France recently snuck in a law in its defence appropriations bill that allows the government "great access to conduct surveillance on the Internet".

Turkey moves to block YouTube

After having denied Turkey's 12 million Twitter users access to the micro-blogging site, Turkish authorities have now moved to block YouTube.

Romania wants EU signal on Schengen membership

Bucharest expects other member states to decide on its accession to the passport-free area before it takes the rotating EU presidency on 1 January 2019 - amid criticism of a controversial new justice reform.

Germany says China using LinkedIn to recruit informants

Germany's spy agency says the Chinese state is trying to recruit high-ranking German officials via social media outlets like LinkedIn. It accused Chinese intelligence of setting up fake profiles to lure them into becoming informants.

News in Brief

  1. EU adopts 'track-and-trace' tobacco system
  2. Luxembourg appeals Amazon tax decision
  3. EU leaders agree to open phase 2 of Brexit talks
  4. Juncker: May made 'big efforts' on Brexit
  5. Merkel took 'tough' line on Russia at EU summit
  6. EU leaders added line supporting 'two-state' solution
  7. EU leaders agree to 20 European Universities by 2024
  8. Belgian courts end legal proceedings against Puigdemont

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Catalonia, Brexit, and Uber on EU agenda This WEEK
  2. Macron and Merkel take tough line on Poland
  3. Eurozone future needs structural reforms, EU leaders told
  4. Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June
  5. EU stresses unity as it launches next phase of Brexit talks
  6. Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap
  7. Dutchman to lead powerful euro working group
  8. EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  2. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  3. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage
  4. Centre Maurits CoppietersCelebrating Diversity, Citizenship and the European Project With Fundació Josep Irla
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceUnderstanding the Social Consequences of Obesity
  6. Union for the MediterraneanMediterranean Countries Commit to Strengthening Women's Role in Region
  7. Bio-Based IndustriesRegistration for BBI JU Stakeholder Forum about to close. Last chance to register!
  8. European Heart NetworkThe Time Is Ripe for Simplified Front-Of-Pack Nutrition Labelling
  9. Counter BalanceNew EU External Investment Plan Risks Sidelining Development Objectives
  10. EU2017EEEAS Calls for Eastern Partnership Countries to Enter EU Market Through Estonia
  11. Dialogue PlatformThe Turkey I No Longer Know
  12. World Vision7 Million Children at Risk in the DRC: Donor Meeting to Focus on Saving More Lives