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HomeHeadlineJournalist Mehmet Kamış Arrested in Turkey Amid Press Freedom Concerns

Journalist Mehmet Kamış Arrested in Turkey Amid Press Freedom Concerns

In a striking example of the ongoing challenges to press freedom in Turkey, journalist Mehmet Kamış remains incarcerated, his case highlighting the increasing difficulties faced by members of the media in the country. Despite the Turkish government’s claims of no journalists being jailed for their professional activities, Kamış’s situation tells a different story, intensifying concerns around media suppression.

As the world marked Journalists’ Day on January 10, the first photograph of Kamış since his arrest was shared on social media by his family, painting a picture of a journalist caught in the crosshairs of governmental pressure. Turkey’s standing in global press freedom rankings has plummeted, now positioned at a worrying 165th out of 180 countries, according to recent reports.

The Press Freedom Report of 2023 reveals a troubling landscape: In that year alone, journalists in Turkey were brought before the court 563 times due to their reporting, with 72 detentions and 27 incarcerations. Kamış’s case is particularly emblematic. Arrested on November 23, 2023, he has since been held on charges lacking substantial evidence, as per the details shared by his son Alperen Kamış and other sources close to the family.

Mehmet Kamış, during his last visit with relatives, asserted that his imprisonment was solely due to his journalistic endeavors. He refuted any involvement in other alleged criminal activities, highlighting overturned convictions and European Court of Human Rights decisions that have dismissed related charges against others. His indictment, lacking concrete evidence, includes charges of working at the now-defunct Zaman Newspaper, possessing three one-dollar bills, making deposits in Bank Asya, and having phone contacts with other former Zaman employees.

This case adds to the mounting evidence of the deteriorating state of press freedom in Turkey, raising alarms among international observers and human rights advocates. The plight of Kamış and his colleagues underscores the growing perils faced by journalists in an increasingly hostile and restrictive media environment.

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