More than ever, the “voices” that speak of “strangulation” of the media by the President of the country, Tayyip Erdogan, have returned to Turkey, as about 95% of the Turkish media (newspapers and television stations) are now controlled by companies affiliated with the ruling AKP.
However, as reported by Deutsche Welle, the journalists react and show their opposition to the regime. Erdogan. Opposition voices grow stronger by creating alternative media on the internet critical of the Turkish government such as Mediascope, Mezapotamya News and T24. However, these instruments have limited resources and often receive financial support from abroad, both from institutions and individuals.
The supranationalist Nationalist Action Party MHP, a governing partner of the AKP, is now seeking to close the tap on foreign media funding.. He therefore brought to the parliament a bill, according to which the media, with funding from abroad, will acquire a “special status”. In addition, they will be obliged to appoint a representative, who will be accountable to the Ministry of Interior for the activities of the press or the television station.
Online information platforms abroad that have not appointed a representative or refuse to contact the Ministry of Interior are threatened, according to the MHP bill, with imprisonment between 2 and 5 years or a fine of up to one million Turkish pounds.
Transparency aims, says MHP Vice President Feti Gildiz
MHP Deputy Chairman Feti Gildiz told DW that the main issue of the bill is transparency: “Our goal is to reveal who is doing what, because there are individuals and institutions who take money to then publish positions that are hostile to the government.”
The Turkish politician, however, makes it clear that the bill is not directed against major foreign news organizations such as the BBC and DW, because their funding is transparent.
For his part, the man in charge of the presidential palace, Fahreddin Altun, said referring to the bill: “We will take the necessary measures as soon as possible to protect public order and ensure the right of our people to true news.”
Journalist organizations, however, speak of a new blow to press freedom. Renan Akiava, International Press Institute (IPI) coordinator in Turkey, told DW that “the MHP bill is a serious threat. Its aim is to cut the financial resources necessary for the survival of an independent journalism. But we will resist. “
The bill does not concern freedom of the press
For his part, Yusug Kanli, vice-president of the Journalist Association, points out that foreign-funded news platforms are already informing the Ministry of Finance and publishing all their financial data: from abroad. All this has nothing to do with freedom of the press. Of course, we do not accept this tactic. “
In recent years, pressure on independent media outlets has become unbearable. Since last October, the Turkish government has stepped up internet checks with an amendment to Media Law 5651. The controversial amendment obliges information platforms with more than 1 million users to maintain a delegation in Turkey. In the event that companies such as Twitter or others refuse to open an office on Turkish soil, they are threatened with justice by drastically restricting internet access by up to 95%.