How free is the freedom of expression for the Turkish journalists in the Turkish press?
Dissertation Title: Press Freedom in Turkey. Freedom of the press is an invaluable part of a democratic society. Many liberal nations allow free exchange of information without restrictions. Over the recent years, a decline in press freedom was reported by international organizations in Turkey. Violation of international human rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights in Turkey is one of the prime reasons of investigation. In this research, twenty-two journalists were interviewed to extract information on the freedom of the press in Turkey. The data was analysed using triangulation. The results indicate a growing dissident of the journalists union in Turkey due to the lack of reporting freedom on critical issues such as politics, religion and terrorism. Reports also suggest a global backsliding of the government to fulfil its promises of democratizing the country. The findings of this paper match with the observations of international whistle-blower organizations such as Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The research performed in this paper helps to bridge the gap of understanding between media and the people of Turkey. The research highlights the effects of media bias on a society and presents recommendations to improve reporting freedom in Turkey.
The dissertation is written to conduct research among Turkish journalists and present the findings. The primary aim of the paper is to investigate the behavior of the government towards journalists in Turkey. This goal can be understood as the level of freedom, journalists have in writing what they want under observance of the Turkish press. Freedom of expression among journalists means that they are able to present the facts and figures without filtering any information and leaving it to the public to decide and create their own viewpoints. A comparative approach towards estimation of cases reported by international organizations and my personal observations, and field research with in-depth interviews and written interviews with journalists of the Turkish press will help to answer the hypothesis at the end of the research. Assuming that the challenges of working as an independent reporter in the Turkish press and media could have increased over the recent decade, the paper will present the findings in the later sections.
Apart from the primary question, researcher will form and present a list of secondary questions that create a strong case for the primary question and subsequent evaluation of the hypothesis. Secondary questions are developed to answer the primary question as they are more accessible and straightforward to analyze. The secondary questions are:
What is freedom of expression and why is it important and what entails it?
What is the current situation of Turkish journalists and how is the media landscape in Turkey evolving?
Are there any changes in the Turkish freedom of expression over in the last decade?
Are there sensitive topics to write about as journalists in Turkey and what are these topics?
What are the international rules and regulations when it comes to freedom of expression in the press?
Which legal sanctions are threatening freedom of expression and press freedom according to the Turkish penal codes?
What do international institutions and organizations say about freedom of press in Turkey?
What does Turkish journalist say about their own press freedom in Turkey?
Paparazzi, is the term refers to the annoying and persistent photographers who take embarrassing pictures of celebrities to earn some money. These people, not only target these celebrities, but also their other family members including their minor children who are often harassed as well. This madness should come to be considered a criminal activity as well and regulations should be enacted to place limits on their activities. The purpose of writing this research paper is to analyse the term Paparazzi, why they should be their behaviour should be considered wrong, and what should be done to limit their improper activities.
The term paparazzi was introduced into the public lexicon by the globally admired film ‘La Dolce Vita,’ which was directed by Federico Fellini, it concentrates on the life of a washed-up journalist, Marcello and his colleague who is a photographer, whose name is Paparazzo (Celant, 1994). As described by Fellini in his interview with Time magazine Paparazzo is an Italian word that refers to the irritating noise made by a buzzing insect, darting, stinging, and hovering. This character in the film is given a human-like bone structure, and somehow looks like a “vampirish insectile” (Celant, 1994). This image of the paparazzi in the film looks like a parasite, a mosquito as depicted from the following picture. By the end of 60s, the term paparazzi had entered into the public usage as a generic term in English language that simply meant an intrusive or interfering photographer (Wilton, 2007) and the individual being photographed is known as being ‘papped’.
According to Sonenshine (1997), Paparazzi refer probably to an independent contractor and are typically not affiliated with mainstream media companies. They take advantage of opportunities by taking pictures of the high-profile famous people they are observing constantly, whenever they get any sightings of them (Sonenshine, 1997). According to Wilton (2007), a paparazzo is a local clam, which is used as an implied comparison to the paparazzo that opens and closes the lens of camera (Wilton, 2007). Many of the experts consider the behaviour of these paparazzi to be similar to stalking (CNN, 2006), which is an act of obsessive or unwanted pursuit given by one person towards another.
Why Paparazzi is Considered Wrong?
Certain celebrities and high-profile public figures have expressed their concerns regarding their privacy and personal space and the extent to which these paparazzi try to interfere in their personal space (Dakss, 2005). According to Carnahan (2014), these insistent photographers (paparazzi) continuously stalk high-profile people and celebrities and bother them while they are eating, or shopping, etc. (Carnahan, 2014).
Some publicists believe that the paparazzi are just going out of control with their outlandish job of collecting most embarrassing pictures; they are making it difficult for their high-profile targets to live in their own personal space and have a normal life. Not just in films, but they live with the constant threat that they will have a camera always in their face (Papasmear, 2013). Sometimes, the extreme behaviour of these insane photographers has led to serious accidents faced by celebrities. As an instance, Lindsay Lohan’s famous accident in the year 2005 in which the actress was almost killed because the paparazzo intentionally drove into her car (Dakss, 2005). This shows that the extreme behaviour of the paparazzi has rapidly transformed into criminal activities.
Instead of this, they do not only target these celebrities, but also their family members that also include their minor children. Some celebrities complained about paparazzi harassing them by focusing on their minor children Furthermore, there must be some level of privacy given to them, particularly when it is the case of their family and most importantly, their minor children and their family (Papasmear, 2013). A survey by fanpop.com, also illustrates that 58% of the total population are against these annoying activities by the paparazzi (Fanpop). They can do practically anything to get a picture since they earn a lot of money for these photos. Just for the sake of earning some money (Nastec International, 2011), these people are stealing the right of privacy and freedom from these high-profile people and celebrities.
Carnahan (2014) further stated that celebrities and other high-profile people are also human beings and they deserve respect; and therefore, it is necessary to apply certain limitations to the paparazzi.
What Limitations Should Apply to Paparazzi?
The majority of people are against the paparazzi and since they are citizens who deserve the right to privacy and freedom just like everyone else, some countries are applying legal regulations, like anti-stalking bills to resolve the harassment issues faced by the high-profile people and celebrities. Some countries also restrict their activities by imposing curfews on them. For instance, California has approved a law in 2014, which will help in preventing these extreme people from misusing the privacy and from taking embarrassing photographs of the celebrities (Business Insider, 2014). Even after all such laws have been enacted, Nastec International (2011), noted that even after hard pressing the paparazzi with privacy laws for years, their activities are still on the rampage.
In order to limit these Paparazzi according to Nastec International (2001), a videotape or surveillance must be used to undercover such activity and these surveillance videotapes can later be provided as a proof in court against these annoying intrusive individuals.
These people can also be prevented to some extent by restricting them only to staged events. Although, it is not possible always to restrict them, because they can enter secretly as they are able to creep into the private places, like the homes of celebrities, but privacy can be maintained by only providing admission rights to celebrities and their families or the extremely important people and restricting rest of the people including, journalists, photographers, etc. One remedy to this can be that during the events special cards can be issued only for those are extremely important for the celebrities and to whom they personally want to invite to the event.
Moreover, celebrities can also limit improper activities of the Paparazzi through campaigning. If all celebrities would unite and do social media campaigning against the paparazzi, they can also do public campaigning programs to prevent these intrusive photographers and to get back their right of freedom and privacy.
Business Insider. (2014, September 30) California bans paparazzi drones.
Carnahan, S. (2014, April 3) Should Limitations Be Applied to the Paparazzi?
Celant, G. (1994) The Italian Metamorphosis, 1943-1968. New York: Guggenheim Museum Publications.
CNN. (2006, May 14) Why paparazzi are wrong.
Dakss, B. (2005, June 10) Paparazzi Going Too Far?
Nastec International. (2011) FIGHTING THE PAPARAZZI.
Papasmear. (2013, May 15) Top Reasons Why the Paparazzi Are Wrong!
Sonenshine, T. (1997, October) Is Everyone a Journalist?
Similarities and Differences between the Media Systems of India and China
China and India are the two most populated countries in the world with over 30% of the entire world’s population. Both countries are currently undergoing massive transformations due to the implementation of liberal economic policies (O’Connor, 2007). The GDP growth rate in 2007 rose by 8.5% in India and 11.4% in China (CIA, 2008). “Nicholas D. Kristof, Beijing bureau chief (1988–93) of The New York Times, predicted in 1993 that ‘the rise of China, if it continues, may be the most important trend in the world for the next century’. Only five years into the new millennium, China has become the fourth largest economy in the world. Many believe China will eventually overtake the US around the mid-21st century” (Kristof, 1993, p. 59 cited in Cao, 2007, p. 431). India is projected by McKinsey “to become the world’s fifth-biggest consuming nation by 2025” (O’Connor, 2007). Both countries also have very long historical and cultural traditions that span thousands of years but the actual nation-states of both countries are quite young (Pashupati, K. et al, 2003).
The media landscapes of both countries are not immune to the effects of commercialization. There has been a shift away from state-run media towards private ownership. This process is currently more prevalent in India than in China because not all of India’s media is state-run. Another trend is the use of advertising by state-run monopolistic media. According to India-based researcher A. Joseph, “Media systems and structures have undergone dramatic transformations at both the global and the national level since the mid-1980’s” (Joseph, 2006, p. 18). The countries are also affected by technological changes including the shift to cable and satellite television broadcasting and the growth of the internet. British Media Researcher Margaret Gallagher wrote, “In Asia the media in many countries have recently seen a spectacular transformation with the arrival of new commercial cable and satellite channels, and the privatization of old state-run media has led to new market-oriented content” (Gallagher, 2000, quoted in Joseph, 2006).
This essay will outline and discuss the similarities and differences in the media systems of China and India. The first section will focus on the basic demographics of the countries and how they impact the media system. The research will then shift to the state’s control of the media. Then, the media’s role in the two countries will be compared. The next section will discuss the impact of modernization theory and globalization and the final section will be the conclusion.
First of all, it is important to consider the demographics of the countries in order to make a reasonable comparison between the two. China and India are the only two countries which have a population greater than a billion people. According to a July 2008 estimate by the CIA World Fact Book, India’s population will reach 1,147,995,898 and China’s population will reach 1,330,044,605 (CIA, 2008). India is made of 28 states and 7 union territories and China is made of 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions and 4 municipalities (CIA, 2008). The government style is very important because the political economy of the country directly impacts the media system. India’s formal name is the Republic of India and it is a federal republic (CIA, 2008). The country became independent from British control in 1947 (Pashupati, K. et al, 2003). China is a Communist State and the formal name is the People’s Republic of China (CIA, 2008). The Chinese republic was founded in 1949 (Pashupati, K. et al, 2003).
Both countries have the difficult task of integrating diverse populations into one united nation-state. An example is the amount of languages spoken in both countries. Hindi and English are the two most popular languages in India. There are 15 other languages recognized in the constitution and also hundreds of different dialects (Pashupati, K. et al, 2003). According to the CIA World Factbook:
“English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people; there are 21 other official languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanscrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language” (CIA, 2008).
In China, the major languages include “Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)” (CIA, 2008).
The State’s Control of Media Systems
Because China and India have two different government styles, their approach to media regulation is not the same. India has a ‘mixed economy’ which means that it is a mixture of public (state-run) and private ownership of media. Telecommunication and broadcasting is state-owned and the print media and film industry are private (Pashupati, et al, 2003). “The prerogative of investing in certain ‘core industries’, including telecommunication and broadcasting, was reserved exclusively for the state sector. On the other hand, ownership of the print media, as well as the film industry, remained largely in private hands, and the press in India has enjoyed considerable freedom from state control throughout the history of the republic” (Pashupati, et al, 2003, p. 256).
Because the Chinese government is Communist, all of the media is controlled by the state. The Chinese Communist Party controls all 358 television channels and over 2,000 newspapers (Esarey, 2006). The largest television network in mainland China is called CCTV which stands for Chinese Central Television and is a government agency controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (About CCTV International, 2005).
The Chinese press has developed into a distinctive pattern of a two-tier system after two decades of reform: the propaganda focused Party press and the market-oriented press as the commercial arm of the Party press. The former consists of the ‘traditional’ morning dailies run by the CCP propaganda departments, serving principally as the authoritative voice of the Party-state. The latter are largely reader-centered, fully commercialized newspapers controlled and sponsored by their parent Party organ press (Cao, 2007, p. 442).
The Central Propaganda Department of the Communist Party is in charge of keeping an eye on members of the media workforce and restricting the content of television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and film (Esarey, 2006). The most widely read newspaper in China is the People’s Daily which is “a key vehicle through which major government policies and Party ideological guidelines are promulgated” (Cao, 2007, p. 432).
The advertising industry has had an impact on both countries and originally initially both countries did not allow advertising at all. This changed in the late 1970’s-mid 1980’s. India’s Doordarshan network allowed soap operas which were sponsored by companies like Nestle and Colgate (Singhal and Rogers, 1989). The soap operas were a huge success and were very profitable and it became very common for the networks to accept advertising. Although the media is technically owned by the state in China, the government has become much more relaxed about allowing commercial advertising. In the past, the communist party funded all of the media. China’s CCTV began allowing paid advertising in 1979 and now almost all state media does not receive government subsidies and relies on commercial advertising for funding. Now, the funding comes from advertising and indirect ownership by private and collective businesses.
Media’s Function in Society
Both India and China are similar because the media serves a specific function in society which was originally set out by the governments of both countries. Because the Chinese Communist Party controls the media personnel and the content of the media, it is used as propaganda for the party and as a form of political communication (Esarey, 2006). “As an authoritarian society, China is characterized by a largely linear pattern of political communication. The political elite rules on the one hand with a centralized administrative machine with all its associated penal power; and on the other, a pervasive discursive campaign of propaganda to condition the public for uniform thinking” (Cao, 2007, p. 433). This is very clear in the four main tasks of the Chinese Television Industry:
To have a positive function for society by publicizing and explaining the policies of the Party and the government;
To offer a set of socio-moral standards based on Marxism-Leninism and Maoism and to encourage and educate the people of the entire nation to strive to create a socialist civilization that is both materially and culturally rich;
To help the Party and the government in the smooth running of the country and maintaining established social order and stability; and
To follow the Party’s and the government’s guidelines, and to prevent anti-Party and anti-government coverage” (Peng, 1987 quoted in Pashupati, K. et al, 2003, p. 258).
Also, the Chinese Communist Party closely monitors all internet usage by Chinese citizens and “access to politically threatening Internet sites and web logs is blocked; uncensored satellite television is not legally available to the general public; foreign radio broadcasts are scrambled; and the sale of publications” (Esarey, 2006, p. 2). The media in India does not seem to serve the same function at all. Instead, it is used to achieve the goal of improving the nation and educating and entertaining Indian citizens. According to the Doordarshan’s Citizen Charter, the India public service network agrees to do the following;
Inform freely, truthfully and objectively the citizens of India on all matters of public interest, national and international.
Promote social justice, national consciousness, national integration, communal harmony, and the upliftment of women.
Provide adequate coverage to sports and games.
Cater to the special needs of the youth.
Pay special attention to the fields of education, and spread of literacy, agriculture, rural development, environment, health and family welfare and science and technology. (Doordarshan, 2006)
Modernization and Globalization
The belief that the media can be used to educate citizens in order to improve a nation is embedded in Modernization Theory. Basically, Modernization theory believes that a country must become ‘modernized’ in order to achieve economic growth (Melkote, 1991). “Critics have argued that there is a pro-western bias inherent in the assumptions of this theory, because the notion of what is ‘modern’, and therefore ‘good’, is dictated primarily by western nations and values” (Pashupati, K. et al, 2003, p. 253). Globalization is very closely linked with modernization and is generally associated with “an acceleration of the spread of ‘Western-style’ modernization” (Thomas, 2005, p. 54). The theory ignores centuries of historical change and is used to describe the situations of massive economic growth in India and China while overlooking the fact that both countries were once massive, wealthy empires. Signs and symptoms of globalization process are very much in evidence within the Indian media context today: early stages of media concentration (including cross-media ownership), growing ascendancy of the profit motive, dilution of the public service role of the media, abuse of market power, translation of economic power into political power, promotion of certain ideologies and values (and devaluation of others), supremacy of ‘mainstream’ content, increase in formulaic content, neglect of the interests and concerns of individuals, communities and groups who do not figure in the priorities of the market, absence of ‘minority’ voices and views from public debates and discussions, decline in public discourse in terms of both seriousness and plurality, spread of a ‘culture of entertainment’, and so on. Commercial interests have apparently become the driving force of much of the country’s media, both public and private” (Joseph, 2006, p. 19).
Media critics McQuail and Siune believe that when the number of television channels increase that the channels become less public-service oriented and more concerned with profits because they are owned by large privately owned media conglomerates. Siune wrote “Public service monopolies, with national obligations, have disappeared, and the content has increasingly become internationalized and commercialized” (1998, p. 4-5).
India and China are very highly populated countries which both share the interesting combination of having long historical traditions and being young nation-states at the same time. Also, both countries are undergoing massive transformations due to implementations of liberal economic policies. India and China’s citizens all speak a variety of languages which can make it difficult to reach everyone in the nation.
Both countries use their media systems in order to have a direct social impact on its citizens although they have different goals. China’s Communist government directly controls all of the media and also uses it to spread propaganda. India is a federal republic and has a mixed system whereby telecommunication and broadcasting is state owned and the print media and film industry are privately owned. India’s media seems to serve the function of improving the nation, and educating and entertaining its citizens. The television broadcasting systems in both countries were previously all state-controlled and no commercial advertising was allowed but now they have relaxed their rules and allow commercial advertising.
About CCTV International. (2005)
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Doordarshan. (2006). Citizen Charter
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