Veli Altınkaya – Vice President of GJC
Humanity has experienced the most difficult year in our recent history. Of course, the world wars that took place in the last 100 years also meant pain and tears for the Earth. But there were countries, people, where millions of people lost their lives, cities were burned and destroyed, and those wars never affected… The virus called Covid 19, which appeared in China, negatively affected almost every sector, every state and more than 5 billion people in one way or another in the year we left behind.
One of the sectors affected by the virus was undoubtedly the media and its employees… while newspaper circulation, television ratings and advertising revenue fell by half, digital transformation spread faster, more effective in ‘our neighborhood’. What happened, in particular, hit the local media and its employees almost like a hurricane. Hundreds of newspapers, television and radio stations were shut down.. Thousands of our colleagues have been added to the staff of the unemployed, whose rate exceeds 30 percent.
In the first place, some institutions of our state have taken some decisions to heal the wounds in our sector in order to reduce the overall impact of the epidemic. But not enough, media businesses and employees will remember 2020 as the worst year in our recent history.
The journalist, of course, will not shut up. The journalist will, of course, continue to perform his profession, even in difficult circumstances. Because the silence of the journalist means the silence of the people and the right. The public-service journalist will continue to be the voice of his country and people within his limited opportunities…
The outbreak has more clearly demonstrated a reality in the media sector. Unfortunately, our state often lags far behind technology in renewing legislation. The necessary legal regulation regarding social media and internet media, unfortunately, could not be made. Traditional media still operates with 60-year, 25-year laws. Even if you try to overcome some difficulties with regulations, it’s not enough. We have to adopt a total ‘Press Law’ that includes all sectors, even the activities of press professional organizations. This is a debt on the Veteran Parliament.
We know that the Presidential Communication Department has prepared a report on the problems of local media, especially with the ingenuity of provincial organizations. We are also aware that there are reports submitted from PCD affiliates and draft studies on legislation. This report should be mixed with opinions from professional organizations and communication schools and discussed in parliamentary groups of political parties, at least a legal regulation that will meet our expectations for the next 20-30 years should be passed by the Parliament in 2021.
As the Anatolian press yesterday took part in the most difficult days of our country, including the national struggle, next to those who ruled the nation and the state, it will show the same ‘upright position’. However, social media channels who have links abroad, and even some of which we know are organized and financed by terrorists, intelligence organizations such as the PKK and FETO, and betrayal connections, must be taken under control and a moral and material support must be made to the digital transformation of the Anatolian Press, which is ‘domestic and national’ against them. We know that the foreign betrayal structure also has insider supporters in our sector. Media businesses and employees who show a ‘national stance’ against them should be protected in all areas.
We cannot successfully get out of the century-old showdown that the imperial powers continue in our geography without establishing a strong media structure. In our sector of Turkey, the Turkic world and the Islamic geography, there must be powerful media organizations that are the ‘voice of the right, the people and the oppressed’. In such a struggle, for the “Local and National Anatolian Press”, it should not be thought of as “What can they do?” and the digital transformation should be contributed in every sense.
With these feelings, I remember with mercy our colleagues that the virus took from us. I wish their families patience. 2020 was bad for our neighborhood. I hope that at least some of the problems of media businesses and employees, including their economic freedoms, will be resolved in 2021.