Television news broadcasting and journalism in Turkey : the impact of political, economic and socio-cultural change in the 1990s
The purpose of this study is to investigate current issues in Turkish journalism with specific reference to television news broadcasting. It does so by combining two main theoretical approaches to the study of news production: the political economy perspective and the culturalist view, both of which are critically explored as part of the research. In collecting data, various methods were employed; interviews with journalists, and quantitative and qualitative analysis of news programmes. The study consists of two main parts. At the macro level, a review of recent changes in broadcast media around the world, and the main theoretical perspectives on news and journalism with regard to Turkish television news are followed by the examination of the historical development of journalism, and its present socio-economic and professional context in Turkey. At the micro level, the study focuses on television news. A general overview of news broadcasting in Turkey is provided to explore the significance of television news for the Turkish public. The remaining chapters of the study analyse coverage of domestic political and economic events, and foreign news stories on six main television stations, with regard to their quantitative and qualitative content. The findings indicated that the commercial, institutional, and ideological stance of television channels influenced the content of news stories. Moreover, the analysis of popular news items in news programmes, and the case studies of reality based programmes indicated a noticeable tendency for the tabloidisation and commercialisation of broadcast journalism. Therefore, the study concludes that the privatisation of the broadcast media did little to encourage or provide either diversity or qualitative improvement in the provision of news. This, it is argued, was directly related, at the structural and professional levels, to the general political and economic situation of the country, as well as the legal pressures on news media, and the failure of journalists to organise in order to establish agreed standards for broadcast journalism, and claim broader freedom from the political establishment. The thesis concludes with a critical appraisal of the relationship between the macro and micro level factors influencing journalism and news production in Turkey. These are discussed in the light of the main theoretical approaches and research findings of the present study.