Turkish media and travel to Ukraine

Turkish media and travel to Ukraine

Femen, a group made up of women activists, staged a demonstration about eight years ago in front of the Turkish Embassy in Kiev, carrying posters that said, “Ukraine is not a brothel.” They claimed Turkish men came to Ukraine in groups to be with prostitutes and were making inappropriate offers to women on the streets of the city. The group accused Turkey and Turkish men as well as their own government for not taking adequate measures. 

The Kiev demonstration could have been focused on by the media, the claims could have been followed up, and the media could have made the issue visible in Turkey. But mainstream media has not even covered the story properly.  

A piece that appeared recently on Hürriyet Seyahat, the newspaper’s weekly travel edition, titled “Capital of night life/Kiev, Ukraine” was criticized on social media because of its sexist attitude. It was true. The whole piece was constructed for male visitors, with half-naked women in all of the photographs. It did provide a guide for men who would want to go to Ukraine only to be with women, it had an attitude that fed the negative perception that Femen was protesting against. If Hürriyet is able to publish such a piece, then Femen is extremely right. 

Journalism during referendum 

The “Analysis of the New Constitution” that was printed on Hürriyet after the amendments were voted in the parliament had a different approach from all other papers. As a matter of fact, it was welcomed by the readers. One of the readers, Muhammed Dudak, said about the two-day serial, “Your newspaper’s analysis is very successful: It is simple and understandable.”  

Accurately, parliament reporter Bülent Sarıoğlu wrote in simple language what each article meant and the powers of the president in the new constitution. 

At times when everybody is saying something, when there is information pollution; the need for objective and reliable information increases. There is serious information pollution on the constitutional changes. It is one of the duties of us journalists to provide instructive and reliable information to people. 

Hürriyet’s analysis was functional, it explained article by article what the amendments were. Then views of government and opposition personalities were given. Thus, different perspectives of the amendment were presented to the readers. It could have been better if the fourth party in parliament, the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP), views were also included. 

In such critical periods when the society has to make a choice, journalists should inform people so that they assist in the selection, not launch a campaign in favor of one of the options. Also, a balance should be kept between different views, the approaches of both the negative and affirmative fronts should be given to the reader. This is what journalism is. 

Another important matter is that during the campaign period, those who say “no” just like those who say “yes” should be provided the circumstances to freely express their views and defend them. It is the democratic right of the people to cast their votes either way.