74 journalists sentenced in Turkey last year, union says

The Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS) has reported that 74 journalists were sentenced to a total of 256 years in prison in 12 months alone, news website Artı Gerçek reported.

Three of the journalists received life sentences, the union said.

Four out of five journalists who faced trial in the country received prison sentences and journalists were fined a total of 170 million Turkish liras ($28,5 million) over their work, the union said in a statement on Friday, which marked World Press Freedom Day.

"In recent years, the increasing pressure on journalists, the government’s taking control over the media and the imprisonment of 142 journalists have ended press freedom in the country," the TGS said.

The group also said the Turkish authorities had cancelled 1954 press cards in the last three years.

Turkey ranks 159 out of 180 countries according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF)'s press freedom index. Hundreds of journalists have been imprisoned for doing their jobs, and Turkey remains the world’s "worst jailer of journalists", according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.