Many thanks to Roy Greenslade at The Guardian for point out the latest attack on free press by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkish media output must conform to ‘traditional family values’
The Turkish government wants to ensure that the output of the country’s media conforms to “traditional family values.”
It is to take unspecified “measures” aimed at countering what it regards as the “negative effects” on family of material in newspapers, on television and even on social media.
A statement from the government said “measures will be taken to ensure that visual, aural and social media, news, tabloids, films and similar types of productions conform to our traditional family values.”
Ever since Erdogan took the reigns of power, press freedom in Turkey has been slowly but steadily eroded. in 2010 Freedom House ranked Turkey’s media as Partly Free. By 2013, however, the country was pushed into the Not Free category because of government policies hostile to independent media.
Constitutional guarantees of press freedom and freedom of expression are only partially upheld in practice. They are generally undermined by provisions in the penal code, the criminal procedure code, and the harsh, broadly worded antiterrorism law that effectively leave punishment of normal journalistic activity to the discretion of prosecutors and judges.
The constitutional protections are also subverted by hostile public rhetoric against critical journalists and outlets from Erdoğan and other government officials, which is often echoed in the progovernment press. Since the Gezi Park protests of 2013, Erdoğan has accused the foreign media and various outside interest groups of organizing and manipulating unrest in the country. He has also blamed foreign-based conspiracies for corruption allegations against his family and ministers. In August 2014, during a speech at a campaign rally just prior to the presidential election, Erdoğan denounced Economist correspondent Amberin Zaman as a “shameless militant” and told her to “know [her] place.” In the following months, Zaman was deluged with threats of violence on social media. In September, New York Times reporter Ceylan Yeğinsu suffered a similar verbal attack over a photograph caption that accompanied her piece on Islamic State recruiting in Turkey. Progovernment media depicted her as a traitor. The U.S. State Department criticized Turkey for such attempts to intimidate and threaten her.
The ruling AKP did not get enough votes to control the Turkish parliament. That means unless a coalition government can be formed, new elections will be needed in 45 days.
Some of the reports coming out indicate Turkish voters are upset with the way President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been running things.
The presidency in Turkey is largely ceremonial, but during his term, Erdoğan has been slowly accumulating more power for the office. At the same time he has been promoting legislation and executive actions that have severely limited freedom of the press and assembly.
In the 24 hours since the election results were called, the discussion has been about whether the AKP can form a coalition to continue its governance. The other thing that has come out over and over in commentary, is the vote is a clear repudiation of Erdoğan’s efforts in limiting individual freedoms.
The question now: Will the other parties turn back Erdoğan’s efforts of will they use the restrictions of freedom of speech/press to their own advantage?
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been on a serious campaign to get Turkey’s press under control.
In the latest move, Erdogan is suing a news organization for espionage because it posted evidence that the state’s intelligence service haphazardly supported anti-Assad forces in Syria in 2013 and 2014. Some of the rebels receiving help later turned out to be key players in the Islamic State movement.
Turkish president Erdoğan wants editor jailed for espionage in video row
Erdogan’s administration has used not only government powers to limit and block all versions of free press and expression.
Last year the government blocked Twitter and the Internet exploded. The action came as more Turks began discussing a growing corruption scandal that reached to the presidency.
When the plug was pulled on Twitter Erdogan showed bravado that was later shut down.
“The international community can say this, can say that. I don’t care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is,” he said.
What he saw was an uproar not only around the world but even within his own ruling party.
The Freedom House rankings for Turkey have dropped from Partly Free to Not Free.
In the past two years his government has passed new laws that expanded the government’s authority to close down websites critical of the government and increased the state’s surveillance powers.
The country holds national elections June 7. Erdogon’s ruling party, the AKP, is expected to remain in power.