Not so long ago, I had dinner with some Turkish journalists and academics in Istanbul. The setting was beautiful, the food was delicious — but the conversation was grim. We discussed colleagues of theirs who are among the scores of Turkish journalists who have been thrown in prison. Others have lost their jobs or fled the country. Chatting with my Turkish colleagues was humbling. Working as a columnist for a western newspaper is pleasant and prestigious. If I write a column that upsets a government minister, the worst that will happen is that I’ll get a cross phone call from a press officer or will not be invited to the Christmas drinks party. But when Turkish journalists write controversial columns, they are risking their freedom. In other places, journalists are risking their lives. It is estimated that more than 20 Russian journalists have been murdered during Vladimir Putin’s years, with most of the cases unsolved. The dangers facing journalists in Turkey and Russia put last wee...

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