Zaman and Today's Zaman part ways with state agency Anatolia

Ekrem Dumanlı speaks during a conference. (Photo: Today’s Zaman, Celil Kırnapçı)

June 03, 2013, Monday/ 13:00:00

The Zaman Media Group, of which Today's Zaman is also a part, has cancelled its subscription to Turkey's state-run Anatolia news agency, citing longtime unease with the agency's practices.

Zaman daily Editor-in-Chief and Media Group CEO, Ekrem Dumanlı, explained the reasons behind the group's decision to part ways with Anatolia in a column published in both Zaman and Today's Zaman on Monday. The following is an excerpt from his column.

For a long time, the Anatolia news agency has been having problems with the Turkish media. However, for some reason, no one wanted to raise their voice against the agency. Everybody has complained about some of the improper practices of the agency, but people were waiting in hopes of some improvement. For instance, the agency requests extra money from papers for reports that it considers exclusive. But they are mostly not exclusive; a report delivered to all would not be considered exclusive. But when we point this out, Anatolia gets upset. Besides, the reports they consider exclusive are related to public institutions or events using public funds. It is impossible to tolerate such injustice.

And the Anatolia news agency adopts a fairly unconstructive attitude vis-à-vis news agencies. They do not share the footage and reports that they are able to acquire by virtue of being a public institution with other agencies. When you voice their mistakes, other actors take action, asking the reason for the unease with the agency. We openly state the reasons why we are uneasy with its practices, but the issues are twisted without offering any response to our explanations.

In addition, I did not even consider the partnership structure of the agency. I did not raise any questions about the distribution of shares in its most recent increase in the amount of capital. Did the new shareholders receive some help from the state, or was it all done by themselves? It is not hard to figure out how much support the Anatolia news agency receives from the state and the huge difference between this amount and the amount of support that other agencies receive. If they consider themselves a public institution while receiving money from the press directorate and a private news agency when publishing tweets on the Internet, then there is a problem.

In any case, apparently nobody desires to confront the realities and facts. The best thing to do is to part ways. The people should know that the Zaman and Today's Zaman dailies are cancelling their subscription with the Anatolia news agency and terminating its contract with it. I wish the best for those who did not consider the constructive warnings. If it had preferred serving the media rather than the guardianship, the agency could have added some quality and color to the sector. If the administration fools us, then there is one thing to do. We are saying goodbye.

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