A recently released documentary claiming to address Turkey's ‘media oppression,' fails to notice that the leading four major newspapers are known for their severe opposition to the AK Party and none of their journalists have been imprisoned because of content
A documentary has been released recently, claiming to address Turkey's media oppression and dismissal of journalists. The title of the documentary is "Persona Non Grata," which means an "undesirable person" in diplomatic discourse.
Obviously, not everything is a bed of roses in the Turkish media and there is serious political polarization, which is being stiffened not only by the attitude of the government, but also of the opposition parties and influential business circles. The Turkish press has never been good at topics such as working conditions and unionization.
Instead of addressing all of the abovementioned factors that have a role in the Turkish media's unfavorable condition, "Persona Non Grata" is interested in only one of them and bases its main argument on the idea that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) oppresses the press and forces the dismissal of journalists from their jobs.
First, let me say that all of the journalists who tell of their experiences in the documentary continue to practice their professions. Moreover, some of them are editors-in-chief, writers and TV broadcasters, who work at the country's most influential media outlets with the highest rating records and the largest circulation. Therefore, the matter does not concern that they are prevented, but rather, it is about that they cannot work at conservative media outlets. Indeed, newspapers and TV channels have the right to work with writers who are in line with their broadcasting policies.
After all, the newspapers of those journalists, who criticize the political power, make the best of the aforementioned right. There is a newspaper circulation of 4.5 million in Turkey. The first four major newspapers are known for their severe opposition to the AK Party, while newspapers, which describe themselves as opponents, have a share of around 70 percent in total circulation. None of these newspapers employs conservative, liberal and Kurdish writers, or writers who have pro-government views. Although 65 percent of Turkey's women observe Islamic clothing practices, none of these TV channels has female writers, TV broadcasters and managers who wear the headscarf.
The same goes for TV channels. There is an overwhelming majority of opponents in entertainment channels and thematic news channels. Contrary to what the documentary suggests, it is the opposition media that indisputably has a quantitative superiority and has troubles with representation, pluralism and the right to expression, not the pro-government media.
As for the argument that the opposition media is oppressed, it is almost an ordinary situation in Turkey that we face headlines, saying, "We will spit at Erdoğan's grave when he dies," aimed at the country's elected president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who they call a "dictator." Magazines, which picture Erdoğan on the gallows on its front cover and say that he must be executed, have made hate crime an ordinary matter. None of these journalists has been imprisoned because of the content that is evidently a hate crime and makes the president a target.
The capital of the opposition media is keeping on track. For instance, Doğan Media Group, which includes many newspapers, TV channels, websites and magazines, is a conglomerate that makes the highest profit and receives the greatest number of advertisements. In addition to media, the company operates in many other sectors as well.
In short, the reason why a journalist faces difficulty or why his opportunities to find a job is restricted is not because he is an opponent, but rather because he supports the policies of the AK Party government. Although, a conservative democratic party is in power in Turkey, the media power is under the thumb of the Republican People's Party (CHP), which is the founder of the modern state. The CHP, at the same time, is the party that has nominated the greatest number of journalists as parliamentary candidates for the upcoming June 7 elections.
An absurd documentaryFollowing the release of "Persona Non Grata," some journalists, who personally expressed their views in the documentary, harshly responded to its content. For instance, one of them objected to that Aydın Doğan, the boss of Doğan Media Group, is presented as a victim in the documentary. He said, "It has been 10 years since I was dismissed from the Doğan Group's Radikal daily … Actually, I was removed not only from the job, but also from the mainstream media sector. When I rejected a bribery offer, the then executive committee member in charge of human resources of Doğan Media fulfilled his promise that they would not 'let me work in anywhere.' Soon after, I began to work for Aktüel magazine and I was dismissed four days later. Although I shook hands with then news director of Akşam daily, I could never start work. My friend, who was editorial director of Sky Türk channel, said that the reason for my failure to get a job was a file that was sent to the human resources department by Doğan Media."
Don't you think that it sounds like a joke? Moreover, he is not the only journalist who was sacked by Aydın Doğan. This is like the scenario where Rupert Murdoch keeps guard during a possible strike in Fox News, or he plays the victim in a movie that criticizes the monopolization of media.
Frankly speaking, we have gotten used to such absurd comedies in Turkey. Everyone ignored it when 25 journalists, including me, were collectively forced to resign from our newspaper in 2013 and tens of correspondents and editors were fired from that monopolistic media. Certainly, it would be different if we had clamored, saying that "we are oppressed," like some of our colleagues who present job changes in the sector as a "political oppression." Perhaps then, nongovernmental organizations like Freedom House, which publishes press freedom reports about Turkey relying on one-sided information sources, would notice us. Nevertheless, we still believe that journalism, which tolerates many oddities, cannot digest a single lie.
to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the
used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan
ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen