Image used courtesy of Eser Karadağ, under Creative Commons licensing.
As the #OccupyGezi protests have surged, Turkish mainstream media has foundered. Citizen journalists–“sivil gazeteci,” in Turkish–have stepped in. This is what they’ve shown us.
Though a successful democracy by many standards, Turkey has more journalists in jail than any other country. Through financial penalties and legal intimidation, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have ensured that Turkish news networks either have a pro-AKP slant or censure themselves entirely. Saturday evening, while CNN Turk was showing a documentary on penguins, protesters gathered momentum in…
and even pro-AKP Konya:
Turkey’s English-language newspapers even reflected a very different report than the Turkish versions. The Turkish people’s loss of faith in accurate reporting in Turkish media was bolstered by the reports being shared on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Reddit, showing that people from all facets of Turkish society were there to take a stand against the deterioration of their civil rights at the expense of increasingly pro-Islamist or neoliberal policies.
By the fifth day of protests, Erdoğan went on national television, calling the protesters “arm-in-arm with terrorists” and telling the protesters “If you bring 100,000, I’ll bring out a million”. In reaction, “Street Reports” interviewed the protesters themselves, showing students, mothers, civil servants, the elderly, women in headscarves as well as women without, and even members from varying political parties and soccer clubs, all joined together in the protests. People are able to watch livestreams, witness the brutality of the police shooting tear gas directly at protesters, into homes, as well as firing water cannons at close-range (Warning: Graphic).
These videos and images enable the world to witness what is happening in real-time, but more importantly, they allow citizens in Turkey to see what is occurring in their own country.
Here are some resources you can use to follow the movement:
- Emre Kizilkaya (Chief Editor of Foreign News Service at Hürriyet, Turkey’s largest newspaper)
- Basak Gok (activist in Izmir)
- Pinar Saglam (activist in Ankara)
- Erencan Ozkan (activist in Istanbul)
- 140 Journos (free press organization in Turkey)
- International Law News (based in Istanbul)
- Gezi Parki Haber (Gezi Park News)
- Crowdvoice coverage of Istanbul protests through photos/videos/links/tweets
- A multimedia timeline of the protests, with suggestions on how to advocate to Turkish media to cover the protests.
WITNESS Guide to Filming Protests [English]
- Full playlist
- Part 1: Prepare to Film
- Part 2: Choose the Right Tools
- Part 3: Work as a Team
- Part 4: Filming Tips
- Part 5: Conducting Interviews
Please share your thoughts and your favorite sources in the comments.
Michelle McCloskey spent her formative childhood years in Istanbul and majored in Turkish Language and Literature; she is deeply committed to to the future and the culture of the country. She recently created Linguaphile, a nonprofit devoted to critical, endangered, dying, and diaspora languages [website under development].