The media will explode one day

The media will explode one day

I can easily say that a bad period is being experienced for those journalists who know and love their profession, who have conscience and honor. Moreover, I can say that things are about to go out of control.

I know it’s not new, but the situation is getting worse. Why? It’s not a secret.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues to tighten the screws every day. He is after a media that completely complies with him, that obeys him like a servant. He does not want to hear a thing. For this reason, he wants to see a Rockefeller media that would not bother him at all, that would be his master’s voice.

He, somehow, cannot see that this is not possible in this era, in such a diverse and developed society, in a country whose only glue can be democracy. Unfortunately, he cannot understand, despite the message given by the Gezi resistance, that trying to press this much would cause Turkey to explode.

While I was writing this, I took a look at the TV screen and saw that Tayyip Erdoğan was speaking at his party’s group meeting in Parliament. He mentioned that article number 35 of the military’s Internal Service Act would be changed. “The shadow over democracy has been lifted,” he said.

OK, very nice, but it’s not very exciting because today it is not the military that has a shadow over democracy. It is Erdoğan’s own shadow, because Erdoğan has removed the military’s brakes on democracy only to replace them with civilian brakes.

For this reason, I am referring to the sorrowful, deplorable situation of the media and its unhappiness today. The NTV Tarih (NTV History) magazine was closed at the beginning of the week because it featured the Gezi Park resistance on its cover, and was sent to the printing house but was never printed. I worked for many years with the editor-in-chief of the magazine, Gürsel Göncü, at daily Cumhuriyet. The magazine had average sales of 35,000 and was doing just fine. I talked to him on the phone, and indeed he was sad.

Many people are quitting at NTV, which was protested during the Gezi Park incidents over its coverage. There are so many other examples.

It has also been reported that an article by daily Sabah’s ombudsman, Yavuz Baydar, who has been doing that job for years, has not been printed.

Columnist Orhan Kemal Cengiz from daily Radikal wrote the following about the Yavuz Baydar incident: “I am watching with a twist in my heart the efforts of a group, in which there are many people who I know and who I like a lot, to legitimize whatever the prime minister does. Please, slow down a little. Calm down a bit. When you hesitate for a moment, you will see that certain papers in Turkey are printed like the Soviet Union’s Pravda. In these papers, those who listen to their conscience are being silenced with disgraceful methods. “Only the other day, we experienced an incident that will be recorded in the world’s history of censorship. Daily Sabah censured its own ombudsman’s article, criticizing the coverage of the paper’s Gezi Park incidents. As if that was not enough, the editor-in-chief of the paper quoted a ‘reader’s letter’ criticizing Baydar in his own column. Do you really not see a serious problem in all of these?”

The problem is very serious, but it is being avoided. The censorship and auto-censorship mechanisms are functioning terribly hard. Ankara is being consented on topics as to which executive or writer should be appointed where. I repeat; these things are not new. But such unfortunate examples are increasing. 

The censorship and auto-censorship mechanisms are the biggest nightmares for a journalist who loves his profession and who has conscience and honor. The journalist whose story is not printed or broadcast becomes very unhappy. Unfortunately, the number of unhappy journalists is swelling in the media.

Things cannot go on like this. It will explode at one point. Just as in every democracy, his master’s voice the “Rockefeller media” era will also come to an end in Turkey. Nobody should doubt that. 

However, if this insistence continues with regard to the sake of the media order, if things continue as they are today, then the media will one day explode, just as in Gezi Park.

Are you aware of this reality, Mr. Prime Minister?

This article is taken from the T24 website. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.