Turkish Press Council Estimates 95% of Media Under Government Control

Around 95% of Turkish media is now under ruling party control, according to the Annual report of the Press Council of Turkey, seen by Exit.

The report notes that under political and economic surrender, 2021 was a dark year for independent media in the country. Additionally, they said that plans to create a “single voice” media have also gained momentum.

“About 95% of national media, both printed and electronic, is currently under the full control of the ruling power. To bring down the “opposition media”, public bodies such as the Higher Board of Radio and Television and the Press Advertising Agency, forced difficult conditions for the survival of independent newspapers and television companies,” they note.

Pro-government media continued to receive funds from the state and were not subjected to administrative fines. In recent years, the council reported the number of media companies has fallen by half, leaving 12,000 media workers unemployed.

Economic crackdowns also intensified as fines were overwhelmingly dolled out to opposition or anti-government media, and advertising was cut off.

Further exacerbating the situation, the council reports, is the mass imprisonment of journalists, assaults on media workers, reported police targeting of journalists, access to news being blocked, and growing restrictions on the right to information.

In terms of physical attacks on journalists, the council noted they have increased and become more brutal. They included journalists being attacked live on air, assaults outside homes, beatings with sticks, and gun violence.

On the topic of judicial matters, the report states that “Freedoms of press and expression were considered as non-existent in respect to some of the verdicts during the year of 2021.”

A number of journalists were sentenced to prison or slapped with large administrative fines.

The Press Council says it will continue to “struggle and face all the challenges in order to achieve the right of freedoms of press and expression.”

“The Press Council of Turkey, keeping its place always on the frontline, has made a call to the whole community and mainly to the press organisations, to reveal to the public, the realities and the facts with all its faceted dimensions, to reflect the situation of happenings in the “Politics – Mafia – Media” triangle and called to initiate the start of a CLEAN HANDS OPERATION for the media itself,”  the report notes.