Reporters Without Borders denounces Turkish media’s biased coverage of elections
Reporters Without Borders denounces the Turkish media’s biased coverage of the parliamentary and first-round presidential elections held on 14 May and the presidential run-off.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) denounces the Turkish media’s biased coverage of the parliamentary and first-round presidential elections held on 14 May and the presidential run-off between incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and opposition challenger Kemal Kiliçdaroglu that is to be held on 28 May.
In a statement, the organization said: "Turkey's ruler for the past 20 years, Erdoğan has done everything within his power to win these elections, including denying his fellow citizens the right to reliable, pluralistic news reporting.
Over the years, all-out harassment and jailing of independent journalists on a massive scale, increased control over the state media, the purchase of Turkey’s biggest privately-owned media group by a pro-government billionaire and a system of subsidies for media outlets that support the president have given him control over 85% of the national media.
This has had many consequences, including a grossly unfair allocation of airtime as well as overall editorial control. During the month from 1 April to 1 May, Erdoğan had exactly 60 times more coverage on the public TV channel TRT Haber (TRT News) than his main challenger. Erdoğan received 32 hours of airtime while Kiliçdaroglu received 32 minutes, according to sources within the High Council for Broadcasting (RTÜK). In other words, a public TV channel not only acted as a state TV channel but also sided with one candidate against another."
RSF added: "The unfair nature of Erdoğan’s hyper-presidential system of government has also been reinforced during the past ten years by the many kinds of attacks and subterfuges that the authorities have used to weaken the opposition media and kill off pluralistic news coverage.
The justice system, which does Erdoğan’s bidding, has constantly harassed and imprisoned journalists. Since June 2022, at least 32 pro-Kurdish journalists and media workers have been arrested for alleged membership of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Only nine have since been released – on 16 May."