A placard is pictured during a protest by journalists and human right activists in front of the courthouse in Istanbul during the trial of two prominent Turkish journalists. (File Photo)
Turkey has been named as the world’s worst jailer of the press by imprisoning at least 49 journalists on terror-related charges, press freedom watchdog says.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Tuesday that the worldwide imprisonment of journalists has reached a record high in 2012, with Turkey having more journalists in prison than any other country.
The International Press Institute (IPI) and the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC), however, say Turkey has 71 jailed journalists.
Anti-state charges such as terrorism, treason, and subversion were the most common allegations brought against journalists this year.
"We are living in an age when anti-state charges and 'terrorist' labels have become the preferred means that governments use to intimidate, detain, and imprison journalists," CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said in a statement.
"Criminalizing probing coverage of inconvenient topics violates not only international law, but impedes the right of people around the world to gather, disseminate, and receive independent information."
Turkey has detained 49 journalists as of December 1, with dozens of Kurdish reporters and editors held on terror-related charges. A number of journalists are being held on charges of involvement in anti-government plots, the watchdog said.
Turkey is accused of not differentiating between "freedom of expression and terrorism."
In October, CPJ accused the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of using pressure tactics to encourage self-censorship among journalists.