Who are we going to learn journalism from?

Who are we going to learn journalism from?

I have been a journalist for 48 years. Apparently, I have not learned the profession. It seems as if I do not know what journalism is, how it is done or how a story is written.

Everybody in this country has become a journalist. Everybody you come across gives you a lesson. More precisely, they explain “how journalism should not be done the way we do it.”

I’m just fed up. We not only complain about politicians. We complain about everyone. Just like in every football game, where we all become the manager and demonstrate all of our skills on how the teams should be managed, the same situation is seen in journalism.

The buck stops with us in terms of all the country’s issues.

Every time, in every debate, we are the ones that “have got it wrong.” We are separatists, opportunists, ignorant and also enemies of the government.

Now, we have the judiciary joining the chorus.

The OdaTV case is a typical example.

Setting aside the accusations of “toppling the state and planning to stage a coup,” the matter ends in the sentence, “Journalism is not that.”

There is a notion of journalism in the minds of our judges, prosecutors and police. Wherever they have learned that cliché from, they want all of us to strictly stay within that framework. When those imaginary boundaries are crossed, all of a sudden you become a coup plotter or separatist. As a matter of fact, the laws are so vague, you can interpret them accordingly.

They cannot accept that journalism is an opposing power. No, on the contrary, you should reflect the country as if it’s a rose garden. You are expected to applaud whatever the state says. You may insert a “constructive criticism” once in a while.

This is the image of a successful journalist in the eyes of the Turkish state.

Nevertheless, they will not be able to achieve this. No matter how hard they try, from pure spite, we will not perform our profession the way they want us to.

‘Why have I been jailed for two years?’
Soner Yalçın is asking a very simple question. He was jailed for two years because of the OdaTV case, and he has not understood the reason yet. This case is one that can be a topic of research on “How should journalism be done?” The judiciary has fallen into a well and it can’t get out. While it can’t get out, it is prolonging the case. Here, the last act of this comedy is the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey’s (TÜBİTAK) report.

Yalçın refers to that report in his last letter, an excerpt of which follows:

In its additional report, TÜBİTAK has confused everybody. TÜBİTAK says, ‘It is impossible to determine whether a certain file has been created on a certain computer, whether it has been changed or not.’”

“But,” they say in exhibit 1 of the indictment, among the documents altered by the user, it has been determined that there are texts of news stories written by “Soner Yalçın.”

What are these texts? They are news stories I have sent to OdaTV and articles I have written for daily Hürriyet.

They are articles that I have sent to Barış Pehlivan, whose editorial skill and Turkish I trust, for him to read, edit and publish for OdaTV and to send to the daily Hürriyet editorial board.

These have absolutely nothing to do with this case. These stories are not included in the indictment. However, TÜBİTAK has determined that the texts Soner Yalçın has written on his computer have been transferred by data storage devices such as CDs, DVDs and USBs.

Actually, TÜBİTAK has created confusion on purpose. There is a finding that the documents subject to the case have been created by a user named “Soner.” TÜBİTAK does not want to say anything definite about how the texts written by “Soner” that ended up on three computers constitutes the crime.

TÜBİTAK is deliberately mixing apples and oranges.

Despite all the pressure, TÜBİTAK’s additional report says, “The documents that are the topic of the indictment have not been created on all three computers, have not been opened there and have not been altered there.” Moreover, TÜBİTAK openly said that operating system traces and file system data further confirm this opinion.

Expert reports from Middle East Technical University, Bosphorus University, Yıldız Technical University and from the United States, together with two reports prepared by TÜBİTAK, confirm that the these documents were not created by OdaTV staff but were sent via a target-driven social engineering attack.

The experts have a consensus.

Well, when the truth is this clear, why have I been jailed in Silivri Prison for two years?