Turkey jails 3 journos on coup allegation

ANKARA, February 18 (AP): A Turkish court on Friday jailed three journalists on charges of links to what the Islamic-rooted government calls a network plotting its overthrow, in a case that critics say is part of an assault on press freedom in the country.
The homes of Soner Yalcin, the owner of dissident website Oda TV, and two colleagues were raided by police earlier this week after posting a video criticizing a police investigation into the alleged coup plot. That prompted U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone to express concern about media freedom.
The EU and the Committee of Protect Journalists have accused Turkey of suppressing critical news and commentary on the alleged anti-government conspiracy. About 400 people, including journalists, politicians, academics and retired military officers are on trial accused of being part of the so-called Ergenekon network in a conspiracy to overthrow Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.
Erdogan on Friday denied any government attempt to silence journalists and defended the raid, saying "today the media is continuing its broadcasts."  "Who says media members have legal immunity? Can't they be prosecuted? Are they exempt from laws, taxes?," he said.
The government has criticized Ricciardone, arguing Turkey has more press freedoms than the U.S. and other countries - a claim the main opposition Republican People's Party ridiculed.  The Oda TV journalists will remain in jail pending trial. It was not immediately clear whether the three journalists will appear in court along with other defendants who are already on trial.