Media and Democracy in Turkey: Toward a Model of Neoliberal Media Autocracy

In: Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication
Murat Akser Kadir Has University, Istanbul, TurkeyEmail:

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Banu Baybars-Hawks Kadir Has University, Istanbul, TurkeyEmail:

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This paper reveals the ways in which media autocracy operates on political, judicial, economic and discursive levels in post-2007 Turkish media. Newsmakers in Turkey currently experience five different systemic kinds of neoliberal government pressures to keep their voice down: conglomerate pressure, judicial suppression, online banishment, surveillance defamation and accreditation discrimination. The progression of restrictions on media freedom has increased in volume annually since 2007; this includes pressure on the Doğan Media Group, the YouTube ban, arrests of journalists in the Ergenekon trials, phone tapping/taping of political figures and the exclusion of all unfriendly reporters from political circles. The levels and tools of this autocracy eventually lead to certain conclusions about the qualities of this media environment: it is a historically conservative, redistributive, panoptic and discriminatory media autocracy.

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