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Turkish think tank report condemned for profiling Turkish journalists working for foreign media

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Turkish think tank report condemned for profiling Turkish journalists working for foreign media
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Journalism associations and unions have condemned a Turkish think tank's report on foreign news media, saying it targets journalists.

The Turkish Union of Journalists (TGS) has said that it plans to file a criminal complaint about the report, which was released on Friday.

The 202-page report, described as a "scientific study" by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), is entitled "International Media Outlets' Extensions in Turkey".

It alleges that journalists use "anti-government language" in foreign news outlets.

The report also states that media outlets reported on biased issues such as HDP arrests, the Turkish economy, and the July 15th coup attempt.

The report provides individual names and professional backgrounds of journalists working in institutions such as Euronews in Turkish, BBC Turkish, Deutsche Welle Turkish, Voice of America (Voice of America), Sputnik Turkey, CRI Turkey, and the Independent Turkish.

It also provides examples of the news that journalists share on social media and accuses members of the press of having an anti-government bias.

SETA describes itself as an independent, impartial think tank and publishing company.

Many observers, however, have described the think tank as pro-government.

One of the report's author's, İsmail Çağlar, rejected the criticism on Twitter, writing that the think tank shares open source information with the public.

"If there are errors, share them with us..." Çağlar wrote. "The rest is your ideological judgement, which isn't our business".

The think tank had also dismissed criticism about the report in a statement on Sunday, stating: "It is not particularly focused on opposition journalists. The fact that journalists have a political position and their determination is legitimate."

Reporters Without Borders tweeted that the "pro-government" think tank's report "brings the harassment of foreign media correspondents to a new level".

"We firmly condemn this new intimidation attempt and we stand with our targeted colleagues," the non-profit, press freedom organisation tweeted.

The organisation ranks Turkey 157 out of 180 in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index.

The Progressive Journalists Association said the report amounted to an attack on the press and said that many journalists work in foreign organisations because Turkish domestic and national media is compromised.

Another Turkish press group the "Southeast Journalists' Association" said that the report targeted journalists. The association said that the report should be withdrawn and that the think tank should apologise to the journalists mentioned in the report.

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