The condition of the media today was summarized with the statement, “even the promotions at the CNN are subject to JDP’S scrutiny” at the panel organized by Hâlâ Gazeteciyiz, titled “The Formation of JDP’s Media, Changes in Ownership and Capital Structure and Labor Regimes since 1980s.”
Halagazeteciyiz.net, a platform for sharing, information and knowledge, jointly established by journalists and academics, who had been targeted by the recent policies, sacked from their posts and dismissed from their occupations, organized a panel presenting academics’ reports and titled “The Formation of JDP’s Media, Changes in Ownership and Capital Structure and Labor Regimes since 1980s.”
The panel was promoted by the Uğur Mumcu Foundation for Investigative Journalism and moderated by Assoc.Prof.Dr. Tezcan Durna, who had been discharged from his position at the Ankara University, Faculty of Comunication (A.Ü. İLEF) by a statutory decree. The panelists included Assoc.Prof.Dr. Gülseren Adaklı, again discharged from A.Ü. İLEF and Emre Tansu Keten, research fellow similarly discharged from Marmara University, Faculty of Communication.
The opening speech was given by Journalist-Writer Sibel Hürtaş.
Hürtaş, explaining the Halagazeteciyiz.net project, said that the initiative, that united the unemployed journalists and dismissed academics, has been operational for six months. She pointed out the fact that, during the periods ruled by repressive governments the journalists and academics becomes primary targets:
“The first two circles the repressive governments target at are the journalists and academics. In the last two years 160 journalists were imprisoned, the press passes of a thousand journalists were revoked; in addition, given the closing up of newspapers with the recent economic crisis, we do not know how many journalists are actually unemployed at the moment. Hundreds of academics were expelled from the universities. Halagazeteciyiz.net has emerged as a common platform for solidarity of journalists and academics. Both the academics and the journalists demonstrated that, even if they are sacked from their institutions, they can create their own platform. The solidarity will continue.”
‘ACADEMIC STUDIES GOT HARDER TO CONDUCT’
Assoc.Prof.Dr. Tezcan Durna explained the developments that followed their signing of the Peace Petition of the Academics for Peace (BAK) and mentioned the academics’ side of the project. Durna, arguing that they have been working to expose the current situation of media, said “We tried to create an environment for the expelled academics for their further studies and produced six reports,” and he presented the objective of the panel as, “to share what we’ve written.” Durna stated that the expelled academics were producing scientific knowledge in defiance and with the assertion that, “Academia is not about four walls.” He added that they had established various platforms. Durna also argued that it had gotten harder and harder to conduct academic studies within the formal academic institutional setting.
‘AT AN UPRECEDENTED DEGREE’
Assoc.Prof. Dr. Gülseren Adaklı told that she has been conducting her academic studies by observing the power relations in media and after reminding Thomas Jefferson’s claim that the means of change for the democracies is money she explained the media was transformed in favor of the bosses. Adaklı, regarding the developments in the media industry with the rise of JDP to the power asserted, “Throughout history the governments want to design the media as they find fit. In 2000s one of most important steps taken by the JDP in order to create its own media is to eliminate the Uzan Group. The green light for what we call JDP media was given by the sale of the Sabah-ATV Group. We are experiencing a process in which the media has been getting closer to the government and the state at an unprecedented degree. Adaklı said that she had never seen such a degree of affiliation before.
‘EVEN THE PROMOTIONS AT THE CNN’
Research fellow Emre Tansu Keten spoke of the changes in the labor regulations and exercises as well as the de-unionization process in the media industry. Keten stated that the journalists have been proletarianized and argued that during the periods of strong labor movements journalists had strengthened the current. Keten mentioned how the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) had initially organized, the lockout decision of the bosses in response to the union organized strike and the birth of the Basın Gazetesi (Press Newspaper). Keten pointed out the fact that the JDP had gotten hold of the media at the moment with the words, “a period at which even the promotions at the CNN are subject to JDP’s scrutiny.”
‘A MEDIA ARISTOCRACY HAS COME TO EXISTENCE’
Keten, explaining what the media bosses had afforded for annihilating the union organization in the media industry asserted, “A media aristocracy has come to existence. The wage of the columnists is 50 times higher than that of the laboring reporter. The occupational solidarity das ceased to exits and the competition among employees reigns. Alienation has emerged. One became unable to see the intellectual quality of the job.”