The Listening Post

Turkey’s elections: One nation, one media, one voice?

President Erdogan wins Turkey’s vote with the media singing from the same hymn sheet. Plus, polarised media in DR Congo.

On The Listening Post this week: President Erdogan wins Turkey’s elections with the media singing from the same hymn sheet. Plus, polarised media narratives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Turkey’s elections and the media

When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered his re-election victory speech last week, he spoke of “one nation, one flag, one state”.

He could have taken it a step further and talked about one media and one voice – his own. Because that’s the way the campaign was covered. The main state-owned TV channel, TRT, behaviour made it clear that it was, indeed, state-run, and privately owned broadcasters weren’t much better.

Since coming to power in 2003, Erdogan has overseen a restructuring of the country’s media space. Hundreds of journalists have been jailed. And hundreds of media outlets have been shut down, accused of terrorism.

A lot was riding on this election. As the victor, Erdogan is set to take up the sweeping new powers he says will help him put Turkey’s economy back on track. His critics say he now has carte blanche to further silence dissent.

Yavuz Baydar, journalist, P24
Aydin Unal, columnist, Yeni Safak newspaper and MP, AK Party
Jane Louise Kandur, columnist, Daily Sabah and board member, AK Party
Mehvis Evin, journalist, Dinkin Online

On our radar

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Will Yong about the previously unknown extent of US telecommunications company AT&T’s role in surveillance. And they discuss Pakistani newspaper Dawn’s distribution problems that have come after they published criticism of the military.

Politicised narratives in DR Congo

For the past year and a half, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been in a state of political unrest.

The country’s president, Joseph Kabila, has refused to give up power – despite term limits stipulated in the constitution that meant he should have left office by December of 2016. Protests have occurred nationwide since then.

Journalists trying to cover the demonstrations have been arrested, threatened and harassed by both the police and the intelligence service. But journalists in the DRC face more than threats and intimidation.

Eighty percent of Congolese media outlets are in the hands of – or controlled by – politicians. That means all kinds of stories of corruption, mismanagement and human rights abuses go untold.

The Listening Post‘s Johanna Hoes reports on the state of journalism in the DRC and a media space in which information has become as splintered as politics.

Tshivis Tshivuad, secretary-general, Journaliste en Danger
Jennifer Bakody, author of Radio Okapi Kindu: The Station That Helped Bring Peace to The Congo
Eliezer Tambwe, editor, Tokomi Wapi
Fiston Kamanda, journalist, RTNC
Guy Muyembe, president, Habari RDC