Turkey: study criticises foreign media
A new study by the government-affiliated Turkish think tank Seta accuses international media of reporting that is 'hostile to the government'. It focuses particularly on the Turkish-language websites of Deutsche Welle, the BBC, Sputnik and Voice of America. The report includes biographies and tweets of journalists. Is the criticism justified?
Propaganda press wants to eliminate rivals
The study clearly targets journalists, writes journalist Murat Yetkin in his blog Yetkin Report:
“The choice of words makes it look as if the reporters and editors of these media are committing crimes or engaging in illegal activities. The biographies of these journalists (a number of which contain factual errors) are published in a way that emphasises where their careers in the Turkish media weren't in harmony with President Erdoğan's government and his AK Party. ... After they proved to be useless to Erdoğan in the last election despite receiving plenty of support and financial aid, this report shows that they are now trying to prompt the government to stifle independent voices, which the Turkish public trusts more and pays more attention to than the pro-government media.”
A question of national security
By contrast the pro-government daily Sabah argues that the report is entirely justified:
“The mobility of foreign media capital is an important issue that concerns the whole world and is the subject of reports by NGOs and think tanks. In many sovereign states like the US, Russia, Germany, France and China this subject is discussed even in the 'national security' context. It's normal for the issue to be put on the agenda in Turkey after certain foreign media organs set aside their fundamental journalistic reflexes and commercial objectives before the elections and instead behaved like political parties, joining forces to form a 'power union' and establishing a common 'platform'.”