|  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
17 April 2014, Thursday
 
 
Today's Zaman
 
 
 
 

EP rapporteur blames conglomerates in free press debate

2 December 2009, Wednesday /TODAY’S ZAMAN
The core of the issue regarding freedom of the press in Turkey stems from business conglomerates using the media outlets they own to promote their interests, a leading member of the European Parliament has asserted.

The remarks by Dutch Christian Democrat Ria Oomen-Ruijten came on Tuesday evening during a discussion on the human rights situation in Turkey at the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament, as she was speaking of the tax fine on Turkey’s giant media group Doğan Yayın Holding. “Doğan Yayın Holding has been given a heavy tax fine. In my opinion, this fine is disproportionate and something should be done about this,” Oomen-Ruijten, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Turkey, was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

Doğan Yayın has currently been challenging a record TL 4.8 billion ($3.2 billion) tax fine after the failure of settlement talks with tax officials.

“But the main problem in freedom of the press is this: You are active in the media and other commercial fields as the owner of a holding and you’ve been using the power of the media which is a part of your holding for clout. There is the need for a separate legal arrangement for resolving this issue,” Oomen-Ruijten added.

A draft progress report of the European Parliament on Turkey, written by Oomen-Ruijten, also touches upon the same issue.

The European Parliament “is concerned about continued restrictions on press freedom, particularly following the imposition of an unprecedented fine on a media group, as well as regarding frequent website bans; stresses that the cultivation of press freedom is an important sign of political culture in a pluralistic society; recommends that in this context, and in light of the unhealthy links between media and business interests, a new media law be adopted,” says the draft report.  The first debate of the draft report is scheduled to take place today at the Committee on Foreign Affairs, on the same day the committee will hold an exchange of views with Egemen Bağış, State Minister and Turkey’s chief EU negotiator, on Turkey’s progress this year on its path towards EU accession.

Doğan Yayın is one of the largest business groups in Turkey with extensive activities in the media, tourism, energy, real estate and insurance sectors and controls half of Turkey’s private media. It has joint partnerships with a number of well-established international companies, including CNN (part of AOL-Time Warner), Axel Springer, OMV, Universal Music Group, Burda GmbH and Egmont Publishing.

Having been in dispute with the Turkish government for more than a year, the company officials as well as its columnists argue that the dispute has stemmed from its media organizations’ critical coverage of the government, suggesting that the case against the company is politically motivated.

Nonetheless, a considerable number of observers have expressed doubts over such an argument saying that the same media organizations have repeatedly ignored public interest for decades using the argument that “press freedom is in danger.”

The same observers highlight that in order for the media in Turkey not to be manipulated by media barons and to fulfill its democratic functions, it is absolutely necessary to pass legislation to limit ownership concentration in the media and to ban media barons from participating in public tenders.

 
 
DIPLOMACY  Other Titles
US warns against damage to ties over recurring media claims
KRG's Barzani visits Ankara for talks with Erdoğan
Villagers file suit against ministry over stray bullets from Syria
Chief ombudsman laments low implementation of KDK recommendations
Turkey says deeply concerned over events in Ukraine
Chinese deputy foreign minister in Ankara for inter-delegation meeting
‘Turkey will not remain silent over 'genocide resolution' if adopted’
Russia welcomes Turkey's assurances on observance of Montreux terms
Poland: NATO should send troops to east Europe, ignore Russia's objections
US looks to Turkey to uphold checks and balances
Dubai may be a hub for Turkey and Iran's illicit transactions
US House Speaker meets senior Turkish officials in Ankara
EU Minister Çavuşoğlu says Füle's comments on Turkey ‘balanced'
US Ambassador Ricciardone has talks with AK Party officials
Turkey's honorary consuls meet to discuss foreign policy
Iran to build cultural center in the heart of İstanbul
Loğoğlu: No Turkish institution in US works against Turkey
Erdoğan will further polarize Turkey as presidential election approaches
European Union concerned about rule of law in Turkey
Turkey seeks to restore dialogue with Serbia with FM's visit
Turkish Rights groups slam Egypt over execution ruling
Turkey to boost relations with Afghanistan, backing stability in post-election era
Erdoğan's political ambitions clash with Turkey's long-term interests
Critics say Turkey no longer state with rule of law with MİT bill
Turkey might export domestic political tension to diaspora
...
Bloggers