The Listening Post

Turkish media on tenterhooks

A look at Erdogan’s tightening grip on the press; plus, how Canada’s oil and gas industry affects the media.

On October 10, two bombs went off at a peace rally in the Turkish capital Ankara, killing nearly 100 people.

Authorities were quick to issue orders on how to cover the attacks, forbidding publication of pictures of the bombs. Internet providers were reportedly told to slow down social media sites.

The call for a media blackout after the attacks is symptomatic of a wider approach by the Erdogan government towards any critical media.

The political situation in Turkey is particularly tense right now – the military is fighting Kurdish fighters in the southeast and authorities are having to deal with the ISIL threat across the border, and with a make-or-break election looming next month, critics say the fight to drown out opposition voices and to control the media message has intensified.

Talking us through the story this week is media scholar Asli Tunc; Mehves Evin, a journalist with Diken Online; Yavuz Baydar from the P24 independent news outlet; and Hilal Kaplan, a columnist with Sabah newspaper.

Other stories on our radar this week – the Taliban in Afghanistan have threatened two privately-owned TV networks after accusing them of being American propagandists; after 450 days behind bars, Iranian authorities convict Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, but do not reveal any details of his sentence; and an Egyptian TV host airs footage of an apparent Russian airstrike against ISIL in Syria – the only problem was that the footage was from a video game.

Canada: Oil, politics and the media

Canadians will head to the polls on October 19, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper fighting for a fourth term in office.

Amid the political election campaign, one powerful lobby, the oil and gas industry, has been running a carefully coordinated media strategy.

Home to the third-largest reserves of oil in the world, there has been a lot of coverage on the environmental impact of the discovery.

But in recent years, oil companies have been tackling this negative PR head-on, through advertising and sponsored content. With the Harper government pursuing a pro-oil agenda, questions have been raised about the number of negative stories that may be going untold.

In this week’s feature, The Listening Post’s Flo Phillips heads to Canada to look at the impact the oil and gas industry has on the media.