14 Temmuz 2005

MEDIA: Media Effects

More Coverage, Less Gain

Veysel Batmaz

Mediated Pulse

When we analyze mainstream media whether it is effective in social, economic and political processes or not, we are elaborating two distinct but interrelated topics. Jamieson and Campbell (2001) name this two-way street of media effects as “media as persuasion” and “influencing the media.”[1]

Interpretations of events; forming, rejecting or supporting certain opinions; ideological cognitive constructions and ideas representing individual and social interests are all influences of media in modern, mass-mediated societies. The process of formation of ideology, political opinions, and interpretation of life through media are generally studied under the topic of media effects. Briefly, this is the power of media. From the empirical sociological point of view, the source or main actor for this process is media-people, media managers and owners of media (or pejoratively speaking, media barons or media moguls) and their positions in society in relation to the media audiences and politicians.

On the other hand, this so-called the “fourth power of democracy,”[2] namely, the information disseminating function of media is structured in broader social influences systems via social and economic interests and psychological forces. The broader structural process in which the media are receivers of influences is called “influencing the media.” The main sources and forces in this process are persons like you and me (this is a joke of course), or organisations of political, economic or social interests. These counter forces are seen as limiting powers. They limit and balance the eager deeds of media moguls and their bed fellows, i.e. politicians.
The flux of different currents in a society forms societal effectual environment in which media are the “streets.” Pragmatically, the media can be seen as an ordinary two-way street system. Ideally, not only the going and coming lanes of that street must be very equally balanced and open to both influencers and influenced but the ability to be walking in it must be open to equal access to all public because “a popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is a prologue to farce or tragedy, or perhaps both.” (James Madison, 1822, cited in Nichols and McChesney, 2000) Both media people and politicians tend to be very proud of their unsurpassed power on society, especially on politics. Desperate Marxist critiques of negative media effects such as the Frankfurt School and Chomskyian interpreters of media supports this gigantic power view.

Despite what Madison had asserted two hundred years ago and what Adorno and Horkhiemer labels as the culture industry shaping all venues of life and ordering people what to do, in the vast literature of political and social effects of media, starting from legendary studies of Colombia School (Lazarsfeld et al., 1944 and Barelson et al., 1954), mass media is found to have very minor immediate and direct effects on determining political and social behavior of individuals (McGuire, 2001).

These early studies which found little power of media on society have mainly dealt with political campaigns and their coverage in newspapers and television as an independent variable and elements of immediate impact. Mostly they are criticized of looking at temporally narrow events such as elections. In a larger scale, of course all media content on political, economic and social topics must be investigated to see more elaborately how media effects on behavior. The late studies, however, are more akin to this broader perspective of media content. As an influence of the Cultivation Theory of George Gerbner, mass media, especially television have been seen as the cultivator of political knowledge (ideology) rather than mere vehicle to relay political information and causing short-range effects (Gerbner, 1977 and 1982). As Barber (1980, p.20) puts it, parallel to Gerbner, “political life shares in the national mythology, grows in wider culture…ours is a story-making civilisation…the hunger to transform experience into meaning through story spurs political imagination.” Barber (p.22) continues asserting that television and radio are homogenising the culture very similar to Gerbner’s theory of “mainstreaming.”
When these two distinct approaches (one is immediate media effects dealt with in early media studies [beginning with Lazarsfeld] and the other is long-term effects in late communication studies [beginning with Gerbner]) are investigated empirically, in most of the countries, media emerge as an agent for only long-term effects (For the Turkish Case, see: Batmaz and Aksoy, 1995). But ironically and mostly incorrectly, the media itself in most of the countries show us that politicians (as well as the wide public) think that media is an effective tool to gain political and economic supporters and votes.

As a result, anybody who has something to gain or to demand strives for more (and preferably positive) coverage in the media. The media-people, on the other hand, use this “false” predisposition in order to threaten the politicians to gain government support, financially or otherwise.

Consequently, in an era of so-called media-age, it is widely perceived that the media plays a very important role in forming (and informing) political and social pulse. Nevertheless, the other lane of the street, informing and influencing the media-people, is also seen as an important process in shaping the political and economic environment, largely called as PR.
Surprisingly, as mentioned above, the perceived amount of media power on election behaviour has been detected empirically so little by the research as related to the political dispositions of individuals (voters) but nevertheless, the ongoing myth of media conglomerates acting upon political consequences are rampart. This myth is an outcome of manipulation hypothesis of media.[3] Although they are equally functional in gaining political support, at this intersection, however, “influencing media” gains more importance than “media as persuasion.” As we will see below, in most of the third world countries, such as Turkey, media-people are open to any pressure from politicians who are likely to return some ways of support to the media using the State’s resources. This chicken-egg dilemma brings about a very unique phenomenon in the media-politics/society relationship. When media-people and politicians are very preoccupied to influence each other and do not or less concentrate on any other relevant social or economic problems of the society, the process of “media as persuasion” which is the backbone of the whole story flips away.[4] As a result, the effect of mass media becomes not only minimal but reverse: the more coverage of politicians and political parties (negatively or positively) in the media becomes the less political support and votes gained from the electorate public. If this happens in a media environment nationally, the economic (commercial) effect of media also diminishes, correspondingly.

In a nutshell, in theory, the shapers and shaped, influenced and influencers get together and make a democracy altogether. The questions arise here are how and to what effect? If the propositions such as the effect of mass media becomes reverse then what are the main reasons and mother currents that makes media very weak and counter-effective in terms of political and social influence? When media becomes less influential, is there or will there be a turning point at this very dangerous undemocratic structural development?

To answer these and other related questions, I will present an empirical study which investigates simple correlations between the amount of coverage of political parties, politicians, and political leaders in the Turkish media and their consequent vote percentages in the 1999 Election.[5] In Turkey, for the last fifteen years, political process via media encounters very surprising results, highly contrary to what we have seen before and anywhere else. I will not elaborate on social effects or cultivation process of the Turkish media in this article.
Before presenting and discussing the results of the study, I will show the anomalisms[6] in the historical structure of the Turkish Media, by looking at how it has evolved from the Ottoman press into a very high technological superstructure of the Turkish Republic. This brief tour will show some points supporting the recent findings. After this section, presenting my 1999 study, I will elaborate on the effects of Turkish media on politics and elections in the last decade and test the “media power hypothesis,” which is reciprocally shared by the “media-people” and the “politicians.” In Jamieson and Campbell’s framework, this phenomenon belongs to both topics of “media as persuasion” and “influencing the media.”

Thirdly, in this article, I will speculate on the future developments of the Turkish Media as to its role in the “streets and in bloodstreams” of the society producing the political and social pulse.
Until the 3rd of November 2002, media-people in Turkey have long believed in their godly influential power and threatened the politicians with trying to show off their strength in every occasion.[7]

By observational data, the same shared view has also been proven to be false in 1991, 1994 and 1995[8] elections in Turkey. But in 1999 election it has been shown that the power of media has worked reproducing negative correlation in determining election results with the support of sound empirical data analyzed by Batmaz (2001).

This reciprocally shared view has ended up ironically with a disaster on the 3rd November 2002 leaving all the parties of left and right out of the National Assembly except the two. The largest and in-power, Islamic, so-called “conservative democrat” party (The Justice and Development Party-AKP—363 seats) and the other, social democrat party (Republic People Party founded by Ataturk-CHP, 179 seats and 8 independent) have been represented in the Parliament.
Long before the 3rd November 2002 Election in Turkey, media and politics have interplayed within mixed plateaus and feelings and widely seen by the vast majority of public having unethical relationships in between. Based on this negative evaluation shared by the large numbers of voters (VERSO, 2002), the result of the 3rd November 2002 Election has been predicted by some analysts as the election which would wipe out not only the allegedly corrupted centre-right politicians but also the media (For Example: Batmaz, 2001; 2002).

The Turkish Media: Its Roots and Autumn Leaves

The Turkish Media has its roots in the last decades of the Ottoman times. The first Turkish newspaper was published in 1831, Takvim-i Vakayi, by the Government to promote the Westernisation thoughts of the Ottomans, domestically and internationally. As Kocabaşoğlu (1997, p. 36) argued that, “the first press in Turkey has not emerged as a consequence of civil economic and social needs. On the contrary, it was established as a government voice and its initial emergence has set the way until now as the (media) is always related to the Government, whatever the critical content it might have against the Government.” When there is a critical attitude towards Establishment (ie. the State), according to Kocabaşoğlu, (p. 36), this means that that critical angle is pointed towards not the whole Establishment but to a fraction of it since the whole modern history of Turkish politics, the State is split up into several fractions of different ideology. The uniqueness of this structure is that all of those different fractions share the power of some sort in the State at the same time. Thus, sometimes full support, sometimes indirect subsidisation in terms of raw materials as papers or frequencies, the Turkish press has always been intermingled with government affairs rather than civil and public politics (Ilıcak, 2000).

The main anomaly of the Turkish media is being born as the voice of the State (the first three powers) which has been a consistent feature in coming years in a so-called modern democracy. Consequently this mal-delivery has reproduced many more wrong doings and corruption backbones of the feudal elites of the Ottomans and modern governmental powers in the Turkish Republic. Its paternalist attitudes at the emergence became more manipulative after many years when private television entered in 1990. But in the meanwhile, the Turkish media has been always seen by the owners and the managers as an enterprise to make media business but an agent to make other businesses. The manipulative tones became more vocal when Ahmet Özal, with the capital help of Uzan Family established the first private (and pirate) Turkish television, Magic Box, in 1990. Ironically, the media entrepreneur Ahmet Özal’s father, Turgut Özal was the President of the Turkish Republic, then. With this direct backing, Uzan-Özal TV started to support ANAP, the party in power led by Turgut Özal in the 1991 election. Surprisingly enough for the media and the public but not for the writer of this paper, the rival party won the power and Süleyman Demirel, the ex-prime minister who had severe political fights with Turgut Özal, became the new Prime Minister.

This date is the turning point of the Turkish media effects on political pulse. The party that won the election was the less covered party in the media. The same consequence has emerged in the 1994 Local Election and 1995 General Election (see, footnote 6).

When we come to 1999, the media world of Turkey is one in a kind, very different from all other countries of the World, even different than Italian media environment. There were (and still there are) 16 private nationally broadcasting television station[9]; 50 satellite foreign channels, 1200 national, local radio stations; 250 independent local television stations. There might be nothing wrong to have so many TV channels in a liberal market economy where the old scarce and natural resource peculiarity of air frequencies have long been abandoned via new digital and satellite technologies, but the main problem of the electronic media in Turkey is legislation. Without any inclination leaving the historical paternalist attitude, the RTÜK (Radio Television Higher Council) has not allocated frequencies to non-of the stations as to this date (April 2005). They were all constitutionally lawful but legislatively unlawful. 3 national TV stations (Kanal 7; Meltem; STV) have Islamic inclinations; one has pro-fascist ideology (Kanal A); the rest (12) have centre right or left but all secular in content. In the press, there were 16 nationally distributed newspapers.[10] The local newspapers are around 800 circulated in 1200 provinces. These numbers show how anomic, heterogenous and widespread the Turkish media was in 1999.

When we see the other side of the coin; this widespread electronic media in terms of geographic coverage is a hallucination in terms of effective penetration. There were only three media holdings who own the mainstream media: Uzan Group (Star-TV—secular, centre right), Doğan Group (Hürriyet-Milliyet-Kanal D—secular, allegedly social democrat and centre left), Bilgin Group (Sabah-ATV—secular, centre right). These three groups hold 70 % of the whole media in Turkey. İhlas Group (TGRT TV and Türkiye Newspaper—pro Islamic and nationalist) and Aksoy (Show TV--secular) groups add another 10 % of the media which sums up in 5 holdings, 80 % of the Turkish media is owned.[11] The others are smaller in size in terms of coverage and accessibility. Although these media groups are non-partisans at face; they would support one or two political parties in every election and between the elections very bluntly.

The Research: Coverage vs. Votes

In order to see how media coverage affected the voters in the 1999 General Election in Turkey, I used a content analysis of the media done by an academic group of researchers headed by Dr. Bülent Çaplı, Dr. Sevda Alankuş and Dr. Nilüfer Timisi at the Ankara University-Faculty of Communication supported by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a German think-tank which undertakes social, economic and political research and studies in Turkey (see the printed report in Konrad Adenauer Vakfı, 1999).

The date of the election was 18 April 1999. The data collection of the content analysis of broadcasting and press media was done between 17 March-18 April 1999. Trained coders, under a coding framework, double coded three television channels and eight newspapers. The channels were: TRT1-TV (The State Channel); Star-TV (Uzan Group); Kanal D-TV (Doğan Group). The newspapers were: Hürriyet, Milliyet (Doğan Group); Sabah (Bilgin Group); Türkiye (İhlas Group); Cumhuriyet (pro-Atatürk), Zaman (pro-İslamic-Fethullah Gülen Group); Akit (Very fundamentalist) and Yeni Yüzyıl (Korkmaz Yiğit).

In television total of 252 programs were recorded and coded: 96 prime time newscast; 96 late night newscast; 11 political debate shows; 16 political interviews; 33 official political propaganda speeches broadcast only in TRT-1 (the State Channel). In press, in 8 newspapers, 4518 election news; 1385 editorials (written by individual columnists with their own signatures) 100 cartoons on elections; 626 political newspaper ads were coded.

In each news item and sentence in the press and every visual and audio element in television channels, frequency of party names, political leader names and visual symbols were counted.
The overall content analysis of these 11 media outlets revealed that the mainstream media have supported politically ANAP and DYP the most, and to a certain extent CHP. But in terms of coverage ANAP and DYP scored the most and CHP came the third.


In the correlation analysis, I used the measured variables in the Konrad Adenauer Foundation research and the vote percentages gained at the end of the election. Only, the newspaper Yeni Yüzyıl is not included in the analysis since its publication ceased short after the election. And when it is included, the negative relationship increases. Simple bi-variate Pearson correlation analysis is used via SPSS.
The chart of numerical correlation is included in here to see how severe some of the negativity relationships appear (See the Chart at the end of this paper). The findings are self-revealing so that I did not include lengthy discussions in this short article about how each variable can be explained individually. Graphical best-fitted lines of each relationship can be seen in Batmaz 2001.
Nevertheless, I will discuss in very general terms what is going on in the Turkish media on influencing political pulse and what are the prospects of these finding might show to us.)

The Past and the Prospect:

After the 3rd November 2002 election, most of the general public, and perhaps all, think that a new era have started. As many analyst have foreseen the collapse of the Turkish media long before, 2002 election is the decisive one in terms of negative effects on elections. As mentioned above, some analysts were insisting on that the Election would change very drastically the media world in Turkey, as its first outcome. Yet, after the election, the mainstream media turned 360 degrees and without leaving its old habits, started to support and applause the new party in power (AKP) as flattering it as “the “Muslim Democrat Party.” The same media had threatened, cursed, insulted the same politicians and the same party just recently as the organisation of devils who advocate Şeriat, the Islam Law which had long been abandoned and unlawful since Ataturk’s time.
Rooted back since the emergence of the press in the Ottoman times, this attitude of the Turkish media towards the (first three) Power(s) can be seen as the first reason of its political ineffectiveness on the society.
Now, I can elaborate the reasons of which the media have generally not produced any significance political outcomes as it desires in Turkey for almost the last two decades.
Historically, as it is mentioned briefly above, Turkish press has been established to propagate the State’s ideology in different tones; otherwise, the sanctions are very severe. Of course, this does not mean that there has not been any critical, revolutionary or alternative media in Turkey. Although in some historical periods, the tone of the media itself has been very critical of the political and economic system. But when investigated thoroughly, it can easily be seen that, the atmosphere of democracy and political pulse had been set up by the State and its tolerance due to some international or domestic requirements in those years. Also, the critical and alternative media has always been marginal and less circulated.
Then, there must be other reasons of the negative correlation, i.e. negative media effects on politics apart from its historical roots and its position against the State (Establishment). Although I will not elaborate in detail, here are some other explanations on this crucial democratic process:
Depending upon heavily on the State’s patronage, the press (and the media) has not seen as a profit making business. It has always been either an ideological vehicle or an agent of producing other profitable enterprises. So, it is always a lather to climb to another tree. Without this economic incentive, the Turkish media is always a seeker of support of some kind from the State. This vicious circle brings about unqualified and unethical journalistic values and way of producing media content.
Loosing its communicational and informational function to the “customers,” the media have not preoccupied with its technical circulation and transmission problems. In 1965, there were 3 million copies of newspapers sold daily and in 2002 the number is still the same. When you compare the two years in terms of population growth, literacy rates, gross national income, propensity to buy, power of consumption, etc., it can reveal the dramatic decrease of print media’s geographic and population wise coverage.
It is the similar case with broadcasting. The transmission quality and coverage of television stations are very poor. When you compare the State owned TRT with other private channels, it is clear that private channel can only cover the advertising markets but not the whole electorate public. For example, TRT has 7000 transmitters spread out 98 % of the geography and 99 % of the population. On the other hand, TGRT which has the largest coverage among the private channels has only 700 transmitters, concentrated on the West part of Turkey and on the advertising markets. It covers only 65 % of the geography and 60 % of the population approximatly.
Being very dependent on the State’s financial supports and having poor coverage further create some interesting consequences.
Leftist or rightist, the mainstream media has a very strong liberal market economy rhetoric (which has been the ideology of the State for last 50 years of the Republic). The articles, the news, the editorials, all of the content of the media are aimed at efficient and profitable capitalistic (modern) society. But, contrary to liberal market economic rules and laws, the Turkish media itself is a big subsidised sector (indirectly from the government and directly from other industries) that does not produce any profits for at least 25 years. The last 10 years, most of the media holdings owned by Banking sector, but nearly all of them had bankrupted and used their financial capitals gained as deposits to finance their unprofitable media outlets.[12] The public perception of this paradoxical situation blurs the vision of media consumers and the trustworthiness, which is the main effectual variable in communication, vanishes.
Another reason why the media do not produce any significant political effects is also related to the financial weakness of the media. After 1983, the media had invested to high press and broadcasting technology with state-of-art machinery, equipment and office buildings. In most of the cases, to finance this new technology investments cannot be compensated by the State support or advertising revenues. There came the promotional marketing supports, i.e. selling goods via media as promotion to higher its circulation numbers and viewer attendance. But this innocent strategy at the beginning turned into a very dramatic change in function of the media. It then was no longer an agent of relaying information, entertainment and cultivation of education to the society but became a vehicle to sell goods like a supermarket. This turned the content likewise, as you go thru a supermarket you can find many brands of similar goods, as you flip thru the pages or zap the programs, you encounter with different views, often contradictory to each other in the same medium. This catastrophic and cacophonic content resulted blurriness in the consumer public of media outlets. Ideologically or intellectually, the mainstream media became a spectacular arena but no one, or very few people, can relate to what is going on in the society as seen thru the eyes of the media.
So it lost its very democratic function as being if the voice of the masses (the fourth power) became the miss-numbered eye-glasses given by some media moguls in order to configure what is happening in real life.
Parallel to this development, having organic ties with the financial world, stock-exchange manipulation, speculation of foreign currency and other unethical deeds became normal since the media is not only the stock-exchange market of the values and ideologies but stocks, factories, banks, themselves.
Consequently the media economics was no longer applied. Optimum cost analyses cannot be done (to produce a paper or a program). The economic solutions to the distribution problems of signals and newspapers are out of window. The calculations of cost, distribution and revenues cannot be done properly. In order to overcome with these highly “sophisticated” problems, most of the media holdings went international and found some media partners, like Rizolli, Burda, CNBC and CNN. But within a very irrational market, these global media giants had nothing to do. When they realise that everything is still done a la Turca, it was too late.
When you start to be the supermarket of information an entertainment in a single newspaper or a television channel, then it is inevitable that you start to blur the limits and structure of medium. Television becomes like newspapers; newspapers become like magazines, magazines become like radios. This development creates another effectual problem which is redundant content bores the politically oriented media consumer public and they allocate less time to watch or read.
However, the crucial factor of them all is the attitude and media illiteracy of mainstream politicians (ie. center left and center right). They do not evaluate the media as the electorate public does, nor do they spare time to think about the above issues. So, first, they do not know how to use media; secondly, most of them are partners with the media moguls financially and they do not care what is going on.[13]

The current situation of the media is revealing enough but within the perspective outlined briefly above, it is by no means that there needs to have a very thorough content analyses of the last election in television and press and see how media affected the voters in order to shed some light of the future construction of the new media in Turkey.
Nowadays, still nothing has been learned by the owners (holding companies) who are restless as well as the media managers and editors, in a very hostile competition with each other carrying their insulting arguments about each other in front of media, but beyond grasping of a rational mind they are still not competing for the market share or circulation but to gain more control on the Party in power and cancel out the rivals power.


As we have seen observationally and empirically so far in this article that the Turkish media in general appear to be very reverse influence on the political and electorate public in Turkey.
In the framework of “media as persuasion” and “influencing the media,” the Turkish media show an anomaly case and influence people in reverse direction. On the other hand, the same media show some sound empirical support to the Cultivation Theory-Hypothesis which asserts that especially television but the others as well, as we have seen in the Turkish case because of the content conversion of different media, make a very heavy mainstreaming (Gerbner, 1982; Batmaz and Aksoy, 1995.) effect on the political society.
The main reasons why “news as persuasion” process does not work healthy in Turkey are the public’s indifference to political the content and lost feeling of thrust to the media which ends up that media widely is evaluated as a manipulative agent.
“Influencing the media,” process, on the other hand, is working only between the politicians and the owners of the media. Thus, leaving the large electorate public out, there is a blunt outcome that the public and the media do not have any persuasive (effective) communication relationship.


Barber, James D., The Pulse of Politics, New York, Norton, 1980.

Batmaz, Veysel, “Yazılar” http://www.haber3.com/, and http://www.dorduncukuvvetmedya.com/ , 2002.

Batmaz, Veysel, “Çöken Meyadan Korelasyon Manzaraları” Karizma, İstanbul, Temmuz, 2001.

Batmaz, Veysel and Aksoy, Asu, Elektronik Hane: Televizyon ve Aile, Başbakanlık Aile Araştırma Kurumu Yayınları, Ankara, 1995.

Çakır, Ruşen, Ne Şeriat Ne Demokrasi, Metis, İstanbul, 1994.

Gerbner, G., “Comparative Cultural Indicators” In G. Gerbner (Ed.) Mass Media Policies in Changing Cultures, New York, John Wiley, 1977.

Gerbner, G., Gross, L., Morgan, M., and Sinorielli N., “Charting the Mainstream: Television’s Contribution to Political Orientation” Journal of Communication, 32 (2) 1982.

Ilıcak, Nazlı, Yazarlar ve Kavgalar: Özal öneminde Medyanın İçyüzü, Yedirenk, İstanbul, 2000.

Jamieson, Kathleen H. and Campbell, Karlyn K., The Interplay of Influence, Wadsworth, 2001.

Kocabaşoğlu, Uygur, “2000’li Yıllara oğru Türk Basını” İki Arada Bir Derede, İmge Yayınları, Ankara, 1997.

Konrad Adenauer Vakfı, Türkiye’de Medya ve Seçimler, Ankara, 1999.

Lazarsfeld, P., Berelson, B., and H. Gaudet, The People’s Choice, New York, Colombia Univ. Press, 1944.

McGuire, William, J., “After A Half Century of Elections Studies” In Katz, E. and Warshel, Y. (Eds), Election Studies: What’s Their Use, Westview, Boulder-Colorado, 2001.

Nichols, John and McChesney, Robert W., It’s The Media, Stupid, Seven Stories Press, New York, 2000.

VERSO Inc., Reports of Election Polls, Ankara, 2002.


[1] In fact they are elaborating on “news as persuasion” and “influencing the news” per se, but for the sake of my discussion in this paper, I intend to see their framework in a wider perspective.

[2] To call press (or the media) as a fourth power in democracy goes back to early 1800s. Henry Fielding, an English novelist, called the masses as the “fourth power” besides the legislation, judiciary, and administration in 1735. But a hundred years after him, Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish historian, in 1837, called the press, which had seen as the voice of the masses as the fourth power in democracy.

[3] Although the conspiracy theory in general and manipulation hypothesis in particular is important, they will not be dealt with in this article, empirically or theoretically.

[4] In such a fruitless endeavour, the usage of political advertisement tools becomes the end in themselves as well as all other communication tools. Even for the Turkish case, it is allegedly told that, in order to hosing money from the government election allowances and other financial resources, political elite and the leader of a political party use communication and advertising agencies as a tool. So the communication vehicles become functional in other ways rather than influencing voters.

[5] The details of research will be defined later in this article.

[6] The anomalies of the Turkish press is divergences from being the fourth power of democracy.

[7] For example, Ertuğrul Özkök, the Editor-In-Chief of the most circulated daily Hürriyet, has been eavesdropped by the Minister of Internal Affairs (Mrs. Meral Akşener-DYP) when Mr. Özkök was calling a former Minister of Economics (Mr. Güneş Taner-ANAP) when he was in office, threatening him with “making him a very negative headline if he does not give permission, tax-brake loyalties and government subsidisation to the paper-mill” which would be constructed by Doğan Group who owns Hürriyet. The Court has sentenced Mrs Meral Akşener to pay a very large amount of damages to Ertuğrul Özkök charging Akşener’s eavesdropping an unlawful deed. (For other similar situations: Nazlı Ilıcak, Yazarlar-Kavgalar, Yedirenk Yayınları, Nisan 2000 –in Turkish— English title: Writers and Fights: Media in Ozal’s Era.)

[8] For these two elections (1991 and 1995) we do not have empirical data but very keen observations made by the media-people themselves.
For example, Mrs. Nazlı Ilıcak: “The articles appearing in the news media in Turkey nowadays prove that the Turkish democracy is in decline.” (Cited in Batmaz, 2001.)
Mrs. Nuray Mert: “Although the mainstream media have supported ANAP in 1999, its votes declined; the similar trend was in motion in 1995 as well. Refah Partisi (Islamic Fundamentalists) have gained power without any media support.” (Cited in Batmaz, 2001.)
Mr. Ruşen Çakır: “In 1994 Local Elections, media had attacked R. Tayyip Erdoğan [then candidate for İstanbul Municipality, now, in 2002 the Leader of AKP who won the 2002 Election.] but he won the İstanbul Manicipality.” (In Çakır, 1994.)
There are many more observational analyses about the 1991, 1994, 1994 elections that media coverage has produced contrary results to what media had wanted to have. Its even more true in the 3rd November 2002 Election but we do not have empirical data yet.
A very interesting event had occurred in the Turkish press, again the main actor being Ertuğrul Özkök, the Editor-In-Chief of Hürriyet after the 3rd November Election. Serdar Turgut, a renowned columnist of Hurriyet, has confessed in his column (14 November 2002) that his article written on 5 November 2002 has been totally censored by Ertuğrul Özkök and did not appear in the newspaper. The mentioned censored article of Serdar Turgut had appeared in the Turkish Internet media and surprisingly seen that Mr. Turgut was criticizing the mainstream media as being very manipulative.

[9] To this date (April 2005) there are 24 national channels. The rating system which is measured by AGB Company (Audits of Great Britain) in Turkey, has been widely criticised on various variables. According this disputable rating measurement system, in one given minute, 16 channels gather around 10 million audiences among which most of them are a-politically oriented and thus only watch dramatic, musical and sports content.

[10] Total average daily circulation is around 3 million copies. The population is 65 million. The electorate population is 35 million. The literacy rate in the electorate population is around 40 %. If we accept that 4 different persons have read each copy, than overall readership is around 12 million. If we calculate that, at the very optimistic level, that 80 % reads newspaper thoroughly, then 8 million reader encounters some political content, one way or the other.

[11] This media picture has been dramatically altered and become very different to this date. Seventy percent of the electronic media and fifty percent of print is now under the auspices of Government (TMSF). Although this is a whole different picture the essence of 150 year-old Turkish media has not changed yet.

[12] This process has been pejoratively called in the Court decisions as syphoning the tax revenues and bank deposits via media and advertising sector.

[13] Of course this cannot be supported by emprically found data. But there are some cases which became judiciary issues before the Courts between media enterprunurs and politicans such as in the case of Mesut Yılmaz and Korkmaz Yiğit, in 1997-98.

Relationships between media coverage (%) and the vote rates (%) of the political parties in the 18 April 1999 Election in Turkey (Pearson r)


To be mentioned in the general newscasts and the vote percentage gained- TRT-1 TV + .75
To be mentioned in the newscasts and the vote percentage gained- Kanal D-TV - .25
To be mentioned in the newscasts and the vote percentage gained- Star- TV - .52

To be mentioned in the political newscasts and the vote percentage gained- TRT-1 TV + .86
To be mentioned in the political newscasts and the vote percentage gained- Kanal D-TV - .09
To be mentioned in the political newscasts and the vote percentage gained- Star-TV - .46

Broadcasting the Press Conference and the vote percentage gained- TRT-1 TV + .10
Broadcasting the Press Conference and the vote percentage gained- Kanal D TV + .41
Broadcasting the Press Conference and the vote percentage gained- Star-TV - .16

Unfavourable news items and the vote percentage gained-TRT—1 TV + .20
Unfavourable news items and the vote percentage gained-Kanal D TV - .28
Unfavourable news items and the vote percentage gained- Star TV - .05

Favourable news items and the vote percentage gained-TRT—1 TV + .13
Favourable news items and the vote percentage gained-Kanal D TV - .36
Favourable news items and the vote percentage gained-Star TV + .03

Speeches by party members in debate programs and the vote percentage gained (3 Channels) - .50
Cited in debate programs and the vote percentage gained (3 Channels) - .64


General coverage in the press (7 newspapers) and the vote percentage gained+ .15
Coverage as news items in the press (7 newspapers) and the vote percentage gained (Per item count) - .31
Coverage as news story in the press (7 newspapers) and the vote percentage gained (cm2) + .15

Coverage in the first page (7 newspapers) and the vote percentage gained + .01
Coverage in the headline (7 newspapers) and the vote percentage gained - .41
Coverage in the political section (7 newspapers) and the vote percentage gained - .47
Coverage as a photographic item (7 newspapers) and the vote percentage gained - .42

Coverage as opposed in the news (7 newspapers) and the vote percentage gained - .13
Coverage as pro in the news (7 newspapers) and the vote percentage gained + .23

Coverage as pro as a whole (7 newspapers) and the vote percentage gained +.002
Coverage as opposed as a whole (7 newspapers) and the vote percentage gained + .02
Coverage as neutral as a whole (7 newspapers) and the vote percentage gained - .61


Political Ads published in Hürriyet (%) and the vote percentage gained - .56
Political Ads published in Milliyet (%) and the vote percentage gained - .49
Political Ads published in Sabah (%) and the vote percentage gained - .43
Political Ads published in Cumhuriyet (%) and the vote percentage gained - .24
Political Ads published in Türkiye (%) and the vote percentage gained - .18
Political Ads published in Akit (%) and the vote percentage gained + .04
Political Ads published in Zaman (%) and the vote percentage gained - .07

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