Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned in a statement the closure of eight independent TV channels, focusing on news and current affairs, in Turkey.
The channels’ closure came in accordance to a Turkish government decree released in July, which was implemented in September, according to the statement published on Friday.
The decree had listed at least 131 media and publishing outlets that would be closed. The number could increase, if a channel or outlet represented any harm to the country, as all the listed channels were accused of threatening national security in coordination with terrorist groups, according to the HRW statement.
Some Turkish media reports stated that the total number of channels that were shut down reached 20, while others said it reached 23. Also, some of these channels’ offices were raided and sealed. The shut-down channels included MC TV, Hayatın Sesi, Azadi TV, Jiyan TV, Van TV, Denge TV, and Zarok TV.
These channels were reportedly criticising the Turkish government’s performance.
In September, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) demanded Turkish authorities to reverse its closure order of 20 TV and radio channels.
The closure of channels is considered a restriction on the freedom of press, and part of the state of emergency that was declared after the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July.
HRW said that around 120 journalists are facing pre-trail detention due to writing critically, and over 2,000 more journalists have lost their jobs after their media outlets were closed.