Taking “quality media, quality democracy” as its founding principle, the Media Association seeks to develop a more professional approach in the Turkish media for a better functioning democracy, which in turn, the association believes, will reinforce the media, too.
The İstanbul-based association's primary targets are threefold: improving the quality of the Turkish media and journalists to world standards, expanding the area of press freedom and defending plurality there, and understanding technological developments in the media industry and helping them to be used effectively.
“Turkey has experienced a considerable process of democratization over the last few years which has created a multiplicity of media outlets. And the latter helps further democratize the country,” said renowned cartoonist Salih Memecan, chairman of the association’s board, while speaking at the conference after noting that there have been significant changes in the media sector due to technological developments. Memecan added that journalists should now reanalyze all their habits, given the changes in conventional channels of information flow. “Journalism is becoming a profession whose borders are now disputed,” he said.
Both of the two vice chairmen of the association, Mustafa Karaalioğlu and Ekrem Dumanlı, the editors-in-chief of the Star and Zaman dailies, respectively, took the floor after Memecan. Karaalioğlu said their doors are open to other Turkish media outlets and stressed that the Media Association’s professional approach will help mitigate current tension in the country, of which, he said, the media is a part. Dumanlı noted that their intention was not to replace any existing similar association.
The newly established Media Association was publicized in a press conference held at the Four Seasons Hotel İstanbul at Bosphorus. Pictured are, left to right, Mustafa Karaalioğlu, Salih Memecan, Ekrem Dumanlı and Deniz Ergürel.
‘Product should be our focus’
“Bickering over symbols in the media industry overshadows professional quality. Our intention is to be remembered by our activities and contributions to the profession itself,” Dumanlı said, adding that competition among association members will always continue in a polite and respectful manner.
Later in his address Dumanlı drew attention to the lack of communication between the people of Turkey, for which, he said, the media is partly responsible. “Ignoring the quality of the product produced is prevalent in this industry. I believe anyone who does this bears a historic responsibility. Bridges of communication among people have fallen, and the media played a role in that,” he said.
“Why is there no newspaper in Turkey that can be taken as a reference globally, as is the case with several American and British dailies?” Dumanlı asked to highlight that the Turkish media industry has long ignored the quality of its product. “We think we should focus on the product and continuously try to improve its quality,” he concluded.
The Media Association plans to carry out several projects to provide professional training for active Turkish journalists and internships for youngsters in cooperation with foreign media outlets. Furthermore, working groups will be formed that will study press freedom and plurality as well as technological developments in the media industry. Those working groups will later draft reports about their subjects.
Apart from Memecan, Karaalioğlu and Dumanlı, the association’s board includes Bugün daily Editor-in-Chief Erhan Başyurt, Türkiye daily Editor-in-Chief Nuh Albayrak, Yenişafak daily Editor-in-Chief Yusuf Ziya Cömert and Kanal 7 TV station Editor-in-Chief Mustafa Çelik as well as Turkuvaz Media Group Vice Chairman Serhat Albayrak, state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) General Director İbrahim Şahin and Media Association Secretary-General Deniz Ergürel.