News / Europe

Turkish Media Under Pressure by Authorities

Media workers take part in a rally as police with water cannon trucks block them on Istiklal Street in Istanbul's main shopping strip, July 12, 2013.
Media workers take part in a rally as police with water cannon trucks block them on Istiklal Street in Istanbul's main shopping strip, July 12, 2013.
Dorian Jones
The mainstream Turkish press has been strongly criticized domestically and internationally for its coverage of the political unrest in Turkey -- coverage widely thought to be the result of self-censorship due to government pressure.  Despite the criticism, Turkish authorities continue to exert control over the country's media.
 
The Turkish journalists trade union claims 22 journalists have been fired from their jobs over their coverage of the anti-government protests, while 37 others were forced to resign.

Fringe left-wing newspapers have been raided by police the month and journalists have been detained under the country’s anti-terror laws. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly accused national and international media of being behind the unrest as part of a conspiracy against him and his ruling AK Party. But the crackdown has also extended to the mainstream media, according to Asli Aydintasbas, who presents a media program on the TV channel CNNTurk.
 
"I think media has been targeted by the government for reporting for the events," she said. "A few weeks ago, the government took over one newspaper and television network, and they appointed a former AKP member of parliament as the new editor[-in-]chief, a former journalist as well, but the line has clearly changed, [and] nine columnists have left. And the newspaper turned into yet another pro-government outlet, that’s just [in] a couple of weeks. Yes, there are people who have lost their jobs, also in pro-government outlets, who just called for a less aggressive stance in [the] Gezi Park protests."

The anti-government protests were sparked by plans to re-develop Istanbul’s Gezi Park into a shopping mall. Also this month, the owners of a popular magazine whose latest edition was devoted to the Gezi park unrest shut the publication down, fueling growing unease over media freedom.

Ironically, the initial days of the unrest saw widespread criticism of the Turkish press, including by the European Union, for its failure to cover the events. One night at the height of the unrest a news channel ran a documentary on penguins, drawing condemnation and ridicule by many in Turkey. The protesters have now adopted the penguin as a symbol.

Such was the level of the criticism of the media that Kadri Gursel, a political columnist with the Turkish newspaper Milliyet, claims it has had a dramatic effect on the media.
 
"It was like an electric shock for the mainstream media; it [the mainstream media] has found will and courage," he said. "Because they’ve faced their so-called clients, or readers or viewers. Before Gezi Park, the media was taking into account of one viewer, Mr. Prime Minister himself. Now, ... for the first time, we got encouraging signs, but I can't be categorically optimistic."

Gursel’s caution is in part due to the fact that most of Turkey’s private sector media is owned by large business conglomerates whose interests extend far beyond journalism. He believes many media owners are, for now, prepared to give their journalists a freer hand to report. But Gursel warns that stance could change.
 
"The government always have enough tools of pressure to use against media owners, media outlets. Threatening the economic interests of media owners, because media owners have other investments in other sectors of the economy ... and profitability is depending on the regulations and government decisions," he said.

But political scientist Cengiz Aktar of Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University believes traditional media in Turkey have been so discredited over their reporting of the Gezi Park unrest that they have become increasingly irrelevant to many, while social media have grown in importance.
 
"The youngsters don’t care about media; they are just communicating through Face[book], through Twitter, and through there own means," he said. "They don’t watch TV, they don’t read newspapers, so these media outlets are all old and they [are] completely out of fashion and whether they write the truth or they don’t, they [are] completely outdated..
 
Along with condemning mainstream media, Prime Minister Erdogan has also strongly attacked social media, describing it as an evil threat to society, and he has promised to take action. With anti-government protests ongoing in several cities, observers warn the battle is likely to continue, both on the streets and in the media.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid