Turkey has performed increasingly poor in indexes focusing on freedom of the press and drifted to authoritarianism in recent years. Domestically, all critical groups complain about the government's pressure on the media more than ever before. Within its direct effects on notions such as pluralism, free speech, and the right to inform, freedom of the press is one of the most important challenges of modern democracies. As a result of authoritarian tendency, it is observed that Turkey's press freedom report getting worse
In this context, Freedom Research Association (FRA) has been monitoring the state of the freedom of the press since 2014. Our latest report is titled ‘The Freedom of Press in Turkey: 2019-2020 Report’ has been prepared by Assoc. Prof. Burak Bilgehan Özpek with the support of the International Democratic Initiative (IDI) and Friedrich Naumann Foundation Turkey Office (FNF Turkey). The Report is addressing the state of press freedom in Turkey from January 1st of the year 2019 to June 21, 2020 as the completion date of the report.
The report has used three variables to perceive pressure on press organizations and journalists. The first variable, being described as a “legal framework” and was demonstrating the pressure that the public authority was applying on press organizations and journalists leaning on its monopoly of violence. The second variable is “dependency framework” which was the economic dependency relation between the government and media organizations. Another parameter, “polarization”, is related to the quality of the public debate within the framework of the concept of populism. In the last part of the report, positive developments in the name of media freedom were discussed and some solution suggestions were presented
Simultaneously with the presentation of the report to the public, FRA conducted an online conference on the ZOOM platform on 3 October 2020 in order to promote the Report. The conference was moderated by Assoc. Prof. Burak Bilgehan Özpek and the speakers were Journalist Nevşin Mengü (OLAY TV), Journalist Beril Eski (BBC Turkey and Daktilo1984) and Dr. Aydın Gündüz which are well-known journalists and academicians in Turkey. The conference was organized open to the public both on ZOOM and YouTube. In ZOOM, there was a simultaneous translation from Turkish to English.
In addition, a video, which consists of in-depth interviews with Burak Bilgehan Özpek, Nevşin Mengü, Beril Eski ve Aydın Gündüz, was published in FRA’s website and social media accounts. It has been viewed by more than 30.000 on social media.