The tightening screws on press freedom in Turkey

In the latest of our blog posts on Turkey, Alev Yaman reports on the ways in which the Gezi Park protests have affected writers and helped to expose the continuing lack of media independence in the country.

The Turkish media’s lack of coverage of the Gezi Park protests has thrown an unprecedented light on the country’s long-suffering Fourth Estate. Ask any Turkish journalist and they’ll tell you that self-censorship and a lack of media independence are issues that have plagued the industry for decades, with the recent conclusion of the Ergenekon trial serving as a timely reminder of just how much influence the military and deep-state agitators used to exert over the Turkish media (regardless of how deeply flawed the trial process itself was). Nevertheless, there is a growing sense that, in the wake of the Gezi Park protests, things are looking as bleak as ever for the Turkish press, under siege from both direct and indirect governmental pressure.

The Turkish Journalists Union’s (TGS) recent announcement that 22 journalists defiant to the prevalent culture in the Turkish media have been fired and 37 forced to quit over attempted coverage of the Gezi Park protests is a shocking demonstration of the price media workers in Turkey face for not following the unspoken rules of self-censorship. The mainstream media in Turkey is overwhelmingly in the hands of a small club of holding companies and conglomerates with a vested interest in providing the government with positive coverage in order to secure favourable treatment in other areas of their expansive business portfolios (if not to avoid outright sanctions on their businesses for failing to fall into line).

For the complete article: http://www.englishpen.org/the-tightening-screws-on-press-freedom-in-turkey/

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