The ‘rags’ to continue to bother President Erdoğan

The ‘rags’ to continue to bother President Erdoğan

I have bad news for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The guest of honor at the June 3 panel of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) was Arthur Ochs Sulzberger. In other words the chairman of the board of the New York Times, which Erdoğan called a “rag.”

The newspaper has set a new goal; it will become a global newspaper instead of being just an American paper. In other words, the whole world will be reading much more of the paper’s criticisms of Erdoğan. 

In his speech, Sulzberger thanked WAN-IFRA for supporting the journalists who have lost their lives, are in danger or are under pressure. Since 1992, 1,127 journalists have been murdered around the world.

The number of journalists who have lost their lives during the last couple of years has exceeded the number of journalists who died in World War II. In addition, in many countries journalists’ job are in jeopardy. 

In this year’s WAN-IFRA congress, countries where press freedom went backward were named one by one. I am ashamed to say that the discussion on Turkey took the longest time. Nearly all know very well the pressures on the Doğan Group and daily Milliyet. They know the situation of the Zaman group.

The president called those who participated in the Gezi events vandals. With rhetoric that is becoming ever more grievous, he called the New York Times a rag.

But it appears that the number of publishing institutions that he calls a “rag” are more than he thinks.

Because WAN-IFRA, which has condemned his pressure on the media, has also announced its number of member institutions: 18,000 papers, 15,000 online sites, 3,000 companies, 80 regional and national journalism organizations all over the world.

As you might understand, the number of rags is quiet large, just as the number of vandals is.
And they will continue to bother him until freedom of expression takes strong roots in Turkey.

Back in the newsroom

Those who do not like me; don’t be scared. I am back in the newsroom, but this one is not that of daily Hürriyet.

I will share some notes with you from the WAN-IFRA congress that was held in Washington, and I will tell you when I am back. 

Sulzberger, the boss of New York Times who could not come to Davos, came to the WAN-IFRA meeting and declared his digital success.

The number of those that are subscribed to the New York Times’ online publication has exceeded a million.
Sulzberger, who used to say “paper” when talking about the New York Times, now calls it “NYT.”

This has shown me the vision of Hürriyet one more time. We no longer say “paper” for Hürriyet, we say “The World of Hürriyet.”

Another point that attracted attention this year is the fact that the dark expectation voiced in recent years about printed media has turned into optimism. The fact that journalism is not dead was recounted by several examples, some very positive and striking. 

Martin Baron is the new editor-in-chief of the Washington Post, as well as the rising star of American journalism.

They call him the baron of investigative journalism. It seems that the paper has found the dynamic publication boss it was looking for after the departure of Ben Bradlee.

I have become very good friends with David A. Callaway, the new editor-in-chief of USA Today. He is very nice. He keeps talking about his success in the digital platform.

We held the board meeting of the World Editors Forum in the newsroom of USA Today. In that way, I entered a paper’s newsroom for the first time in five years. Newsrooms are the most exiting places anywhere in the world.