by Bret Windhauser
On Friday, April 26, Cüneyt Özdemir presented on "The Shackles of Journalism" in the modern world. Özdemir framed his talk around analyzing the relationship between journalists and businessmen. Journalism as an industry is expensive and needs investment. But when investors demand a certain political leaning, a truly free and independent press is impossible.
After discussing his at times turbulent relationship with the Turkish government through his reporting career, Özdemir explained the limitations on free journalism in the country. Around 90% of the national media outlets are owned by pro-governmental figures or businesses. While there are also foreign networks working in Turkey, their popularity is limited. Because of these limitations, Özdemir began to work through unconventional means. He began streaming professionally made news on social media sites such as YouTube and Twitter. His videos on YouTube analyzing the recent election in Turkey were viewed more than the Turkish media's televised news broadcasts. By working on free-to-publish social media sites, Özdemir is also able to gain revenue through ad postings that are common on such platforms.
This relationship between business and journalism is a tricky balance of power and testing limitations. Özdemir said that economic liberty allows the freedom of the press in the media industry. Media sources who want to present an unbiased truth need to develop sustainable economic models to support their endeavors.
Bret Windhauser is a first year MA student at NELC. His research focuses on identity formation, nationalism, and smuggling networks.
Photo thanks to Patrick Gibbs, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Administrator