Sözcü - Turkey | 16/12/2014

Gülen arrests cover up AKP corruption

The mass arrest of journalists and government critics is an attempt to divert attention from the corrupt past of the AKP government, the government-critical daily Sözcü comments ironically: "Just look at the timing of this latest anti-media operation, which is turning into a disgrace. It speaks volumes! Because of the bbribery and corruption scandal of 17 December 2013, this week was declared 'corruption week' [by government critics]. ... The sultan and his grand vizier would have had to address difficult topics and stress 'We are against bribery and corruption. Those who engage in such activities will be held to account!'. But then on Sunday - naturally without the Turkish government's knowledge - a load of journalists, media representatives and series producers were arrested on allegations of terrorism. What a trying situation for [President] Erdoğan  and the ruling AKP party! ... The corruption scandal would have otherwise dominated the agenda this week. With the raids they have tried to make the people forget it." (16/12/2014)

Dagens Nyheter - Sweden | 16/12/2014

Turkish press freedom severely undermined

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has rejected the EU's criticism of the mass arrests of government-critical journalists. The liberal daily Dagens Nyheter warns: "Already in the past in Turkey, critical journalists have been threatened or put behind bars. ... However the events of Sunday took on new dimensions. An unidentified person, clearly someone close to Erdoğan, revealed on Twitter that almost 400 people are on the police's list. ... Erdoğan's goal is to change the constitution to expand his own powers. ... Yet he already does as he pleases. The originally mild form of Islamism has become harsher. Vladimir Putin recently paid a visit to Ankara. The Russian president has made headway with his despotic ambitions. But in Turkey too, the scope for divergent opinions is growing smaller and smaller." (16/12/2014)

El Mundo - Spain | 12/12/2014

Spanish media must strike deal with Google

The US Internet company Google announced on Thursday that as of December 16 it will stop linking to Spanish media outlets in its Google News service. The move is a reaction to a Spanish law that comes into effect on January 1 and obliges the company to pay for showing links and excerpts of news articles. The conservative daily El Mundo hopes this step can still be avoided: "Google made a deal in 2012 with the society for authors' rights in Belgium that it would promote the products of Belgian newspapers. And in 2013 it agreed to set up a 60-million-euro fund to promote digital projects by the French press in a deal with the French government. There is no reason to believe it can't also reach an equally satisfactory agreement with the Spanish newspapers. Particularly since it already has commercial agreements that benefit both sides." (12/12/2014)

La Vanguardia - Spain | 11/12/2014

Spain's media reacting hysterically to Podemos

A mature democracy should treat the new left-wing party Podemos just like any other party and neither hype it up nor demonise it as the Spanish media are doing, the conservative daily La Vanguardia writes in annoyance: "A society that can't conduct a rational debate on politics is doomed to fall victim to fatalism and suffer a tragic end. The emergence of a political experiment like the new Podemos party should be regarded favourably or with concern - it can inspire support or fear. But the party deserves to be the subject of a sensible debate among adults, not what is happening now: raging attacks or passionate adulation. [Podemos leader] Pablo Iglesias should be treated like a normal politician, not with any less or more respect." (11/12/2014)

Trouw - Netherlands | 08/12/2014

Facebook pretending to enhance data protection

The US company Facebook will alter its data protection guidelines as of 1 January 2015 in reaction to persistent criticism of the social network. But the Christian Social daily Trouw doubts that the measures will really improve data protection: "It's high time the Netherlands and the EU armed themselves more effectively against the data collectors of this world. The private sphere has long since ceased to be about 'having nothing to hide'. Facebook, and Google too, are Internet giants who use their market position to achieve total dominance. ... If a few companies hold all this information about billions of citizens they constitute a force that can no longer be democratically controlled. And only recently have we learned thanks to Edward Snowden how national intelligence services demand information from these mega-companies and can therefore put together precise profiles of their citizens." (08/12/2014)

România Curată - Romania | 01/12/2014

Iohannis must build on his Facebook presence

The social network Facebook played a key role in mobilising voters to help clinch conservative candidate Klaus Iohannis's electoral victory over Prime Minister Ponta, the blog portal România Curată writes. But even after the elections Iohannis must maintain contact with his 1.2 million Facebook fans, the blog believes: "A country can just as little be governed over a Facebook page as it can from a television studio. But Facebook can prove helpful for a leader as a forum for messages and communication. And that is not negligible. Facebook gives Iohannis independence from the mainstream press (meaning the part of the media that is politically and economically controlled). At the same time, however, it makes him dependent on the desires and attitudes of his online followers. It's thrilling to watch how Iohannis is dealing with this situation which is unique both at home and on the European level." (01/12/2014)

Dromos tis Aristeras - Greece | 22/11/2014

Greek broadcaster destroying journalism

According to media reports on Sunday journalists at the state broadcaster Nerit will in future produce content for radio, television and Internet in a single newsroom owing to staff shortages. This leaves less and less time for research, the left-leaning weekly Dromos tis Aristeras criticises: "If a journalist plans a story and urgently needs an institution to make a statement it's clear that his story will land in the wastepaper basket [because there's not enough time]. In the worst case it will be falsified. The 'death' of the news report gives media companies complete control over information. The term 'newsroom' is now very popular with media companies. It has allowed them to trample on industrial laws and journalists. An editor who is in the production chain of a newsroom no longer has the right to say what he thinks and thus no longer really takes part in the process of producing information." (22/11/2014)

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