YAVUZ – Is there a way out for the Turkish media?

Is there a way out for the Turkish media?Turkey’s culture of intolerance of the freedom of expression, diversity of opinion, the free flow of ideas and the right of journalists to inform the public is already well-known.The way out is preconditioned on a few steps. It has to do with laws, basic reforms and with the journalists and owners of the media outlets.First, Turkey needs a democratic constitution that guarantees freedom of the media unconditionally. (Indeed, the recent Twitter ruling by the top court in favor of Internet freedom is a reminder of the acute need.)The second issue has to do with a number of laws that deter, limit and suffocate the conduct of journalism.All the problematic articles containing punitive measures — imprisonment, closure of radioTV channels, Internet bans, fines, etc. — must be revised so as not to contradict the European Treaty of Human Rights and the Copenhagen criteria.The third point is about transparency and ownership issues in the media sector.It covers a vast field of concern. The editorial independence of the media over the last three decades has been severely damaged by media owners and their allies in government. Both the Gezi protests and the graft probes exposed the facts of how proprietors dismantled the DNA of Turkish journalism by making self-censorship routine and cementing a culture of submission to interests that conflict with the ethical principles of media professionals.This destructive axis of power and greed needs to be addressed.Unfortunately, governments abuse media outlets for propaganda purposes through agreements with the media bosses, who then abuse journalism through their media assets to gain immense profits often under unfair, murky circumstances. It must be abolished in favor of honest, accurate journalism for the public good.The lack of transparency in Turkey’s media sector is unacceptable. The Turkish public has to know who owns what in the media and how much.Proper guidelines do exist. The Council of Europe (CoE) issued a set of recommendations in November 2013 — after deliberating on the subject — that call for steps to allow the public “to discuss and even prevent abuses of media power.” This declaration follows recommendations at the CoE ministerial level in 1994, two related documents in 2007 (one on pluralism and diversity and the other on media concentration) and another one in 2011, on media and democracy. The president of Turkey, the government and Parliament should be reminded constantly of these guidelines.The EU must also urge Turkey to open Chapter 5 of its membership negotiations, related to public procurement, which it has so far deliberately refrained from doing, and one can understand why.The fourth aspect has to with the collective rights of journalists.According to figures from the Turkish Journalists Union (TGS), only 1 percent of the country’s approximately 15,000 journalists are members of a trade union, mostly due to intimidation and deterrents.The absence of job security leads to an erosion of editorial independence and self-censorship, and that helps to explain why there is no job security, no solidarity and so much polarization within the profession.Parliament must pass revised laws that secure the presence of the trade unions and individual membership. The EU must also put a priority on opening Chapter 19 on social policy and employment, which the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has remained reluctant to do.The fifth point has to with the culture of journalists in Turkey.Most of Turkey’s journalists identify themselves with political and economic missions, identities and ideologies, giving their loyalty to their employers and putting aside the main purpose of journalism and its universal ethics.The sixth aspect concerns public service broadcasting systems.The Turkish Radio and Television Broadcasting Corporation (TRT) is still a state broadcaster, failing grossly its mission as a public service institution. Run by bureaucrats appointed by the government and not media professionals, it acts as a mouthpiece for the government and there is massive self-censorship. The current law must be abolished and a new one meeting EU norms must be passed.

SOURCE: Todays Zaman

Related Post
– Nexen Tire America, Inc. breaks ground for its new tire technology center in Ohio, United
– Company’s Carlsbad, U.S., manufacturing facility passes FDA and EMA inspections – Underscores capabilities as
ألباكيركي، نيو مكسيكو، 18 تشرين الأول/أكتوبر، 2017 / بي آر نيوزواير / — أهلا بكم