Listening Post

Turkey's media pressure points

Amid accusations of censorship, is government pressure creating a climate of intimidation for media in the country?

Last updated: 17 Feb 2014 14:04
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A few weeks ago the Listening Post looked at Turkey and the corruption scandal pitting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government against critical news outlets. That story has been intensifying.

On February 10, the editor of a leading newspaper went on the air to say that government pressure had created a climate of intimidation for the media in Turkey. That came after audio files leaked online purportedly showed his publication altering its news coverage at the behest of executives with close ties to the ruling AK Party.

Just two days before that, thousands of protesters were on the streets after parliament voted to change the internet law. If made official by President Abdullah Gul, the amended law will bolster existing legislation that has already allowed for the blocking of myriad websites in the country.

The government says the law is not censorship, but regulation. However, critics point to the timing. With elections coming up and the fact that official secrets have been leaked on the internet, their argument is that the Erdogan government is trying to curb the free flow of information online. 

To look at recent events surrounding Turkey's media, and what they say about the current political situation, we speak to: Hakan Camuz, the chairman MUSIAD UK; Osman Can, a law professor and member of the Central Committee of Turkey's AK Party; Sedar Akinan from Vagus TV; and Tulin Daloglu, a columnist at the Al Monitor news website.

This week’s news bytes: The New York Times breaks ranks with other US newspapers and decides against withholding certain information in a story at the request of US officials; Ukrainian protesters come out in support for the embattled, critical Russian network TV Dozhd; and in Myanmar, five journalists are charged with disclosing state secrets in a case that has sparked fears of a return to a heavy-handed approach towards the media under the former military junta.

This week's feature takes a look at the Indian news magazine Tehelka. In its heyday it specialised in hard-hitting exposes on political corruption and cover-ups. But three months ago, the magazine was hit by its own scandal - its founding editor Tarun Tejpal  - was accused of raping a junior member of his team.

The bad press towards the magazine has not stopped since and Tehelka is facing a battle to survive. The Listening Post’s Meenakshi Ravi looks at the rise and likely fall of the crusading publication.

Finally, Facebook recently marked its 10th anniversary and did so with videos marking its users life on the social media site. But for the Listening Post team, our Video of the Week is one that struck us as one of the most honest. It basically says ‘As far as my friends know, my life is perfect’ and it comes from a couple of comedians from Atlanta, Georgia, called Tripp and Tyler.

The video touches on Facebook’s idea of friendship, the selfie, and those annoying sidebar ads. With more than five million hits online, we are not the only ones it has struck a chord with. The ‘Honest Facebook Movie’ is our web video of the week.

Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

Click here for more Listening Post


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