The Listening Post

Erdogan, elections and the future of Turkish journalism

As Turks head to the polls, we look at the country’s media; plus, an interview with whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

When Turks go to the polls on June 7, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hopes his Justice and Development Party – the AKP – will secure enough seats in parliament to change Turkey’s constitution.

During the campaign, Erdogan and his Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu have been fixated on the media – accusations, arrests, reporting bans and court convictions against journalists.

Last week, Erdogan publicly accused the editor of the Cumhuriyet newspaper of espionage and slammed the New York Times for holding a grudge against him and Turkey itself.

The election will have great influence on the future of Turkish journalism, at least in the short term.

Talking us through the story are: Bulent Kenes, the editor-in-chief of Today’s Zaman; Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet; Mehmet Karaca, the Ankara editor-in-chief of ATV; and Besir Atalay, the deputy chair and spokesman for the AKP.

Other media stories on our radar this week: Two Yemeni TV journalists have been found dead after an airstrike; the BBC stands accused of genocide denial in Rwanda and its broadcasts in the country have been blocked; fake news outlets are proliferating on the web and public figures – and the media – keep confusing their satirical stories for genuine articles.

Whistleblower Ellsberg: Snowden should be thanked

In the second half of the show, Richard Gizbert sits down with Daniel Ellsberg, the first whistleblower prosecuted in US history.

In 1971, Ellsberg gave the so-called Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, the Washington Post and 17 other newspapers. He has re-emerged as an advocate for those who want the truth to get out like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

Finally, sometimes when we are looking for something to end the show with we go to Youtube for inspiration – and it turns out that is actually a genre – the Youtube Inspirational Video. Peter Gilroy of the comedy group Nacho Punch came up with a parody to prove that there is a formula for profundity, right down to the cadence with which the message is delivered.