July 26, 2017 Last Updated 12:40 pm

Bomb squad called to Amazon fulfillment center; Newspaper, magazine readership in Turkey falls 20% after crackdown

Morning Brief: Reporters Without Borders says more than 150 journalists are currently being jailed in Turkey following the failed coup attempt against the government, and the resulting crackdown on press freedoms

Things can get a tad dicey when the president goes after you on Twitter. Take the folks who work at the Amazon Tracy Fulfillment Center. They called the police after discovering a suspicious device attached to one of their local delivery trucks. It, of course, proved to be no big deal, other wise you would have heard about it before now, right?

Why the paranoia? Just that same day President Trump went after The Washington Post on Twitter, three times mentioning Amazon.

Tracy, in case you are unfamiliar with the town, is in California’s Central Valley, just on the other side of a range that separates it from the Livermore Valley. For years it was a small town considered too far away from San Francisco and San Jose to be the considered for a home when working in the Bay Area. But with the price of housing rising so much, there are those who don’t mind the long commute and have chosen to move out to Tracy, driving its population towards 100K in the process.

Amazon has a fulfillment center there, a convenient location for delivering to both the Bay Area and Sacramento areas.

Tracy Press, Michael Ellis Langley:

Bomb squad called to Amazon

Sgt. Chad Bankston with the Tracy Police Department said an Amazon security guard called 911 around 7:45 p.m. to report something attached to one of the online retailer’s local delivery trucks. The guard showed him a photo of the suspicious attachment, and Bankston said he kept other officers away from the truck and called in the experts…

…“It was a thermal couple for the thermostat on the refrigeration unit of the truck,” she said, adding that it was stuffed into a sports water bottle. “Why it was in the bottle, no one seems to know.”
Tuesday morning, Amazon released a statement about the incident.

“The safety of our employees is our top priority and we appreciate all the efforts of our local first responders last night,” it read, adding that all further questions should be directed to local law enforcement agencies.

What happens to newspapers and magazines in a country when the government cracks down on the opposition? We usually don’t consider the business ramifications of political suppression, but with authoritarianism rising in many places, it is good to consider what happens in such a situation.

In Turkey, which Reporters Without Borders says more than 150 journalists are currently being jailed, the consequences can be devastating.

Daily Sabah:

Newspaper, magazine circulation in Turkey decreases 20 percent in one year

According to data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (Turkstat) Wednesday, the total circulation of newspapers and magazines decreased to 1.7 billion copies, with newspapers making up 94.1 percent of this number.

The number of newspaper and magazine titles in Turkey decreased by 7.9 percent to 6,265. Magazines constituted 59.7 percent of the total number of publications. The decrease was accelerated by measures taken against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) after the July 15 coup attempt, which ushered in the discontinuation of dozens of national and regional newspapers funded by FETÖ.

Los Angeles Times, Umar Farooq:

Journalism is under siege in Turkey as trial begins for 17 defendants from leading newspaper

Police began detaining Cumhuriyet’s top staff in October, but it took six months before prosecutors produced an indictment against the group, which includes columnists, reporters, a cartoonist, and executives from the foundation that owns the paper. Cumhuriyet has continued to publish — with blank spaces marking the spots where work from the detained writers would normally have appeared.

Prosecutors are seeking sentences of seven-and-a-half to 43 years for a range of terror-related charges, with some being accused of membership in an armed terrorist organization and others of helping a terrorist organization without being a member of it.

Articles published by Cumhuriyet, the indictment says, have gone beyond the “heavy criticsm” allowed under the country’s press freedom laws. Instead, it says, they have “paved the way for illegal politics and for targeting of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in asymmetric war methods.”

The Globe and Mail, Can Dündar:

Some journalists celebrate Press Freedom Day in prisons, courtrooms and exile

The police came in the early hours. Everyone was asleep. It was twilight. Thirteen journalists’ homes were raided in the early hours of Oct. 31. The editor-in-chief of the newspaper lived in one. The CEO in another. Columnists in four, lawyers in three. The reporter, the ombudsman, the books section editor, the cartoonist, the accountant… All were senior figures in the Cumhuriyet, Turkey’s oldest and most prestigious newspaper.

Trying to reassure their terrified, bleary-eyed children, they were forced to watch as their homes and archives were turned inside out and computers were impounded. They were taken to the main police station first, then to the hospital for a medical, and finally to the biggest prison in the country. Placed in solitary cells, with no idea what their crime was. As it turned out, they had to wait for 151 days before they could learn. The indictments were announced on the 151st day: Aiding and abetting armed terrorist organizations…

…And the evidence, I hear you ask?

The reports, interviews, headlines, tweets and columns critical of the government. In other words, they would be tried on charges of journalism.

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