Pro-government groups own lion’s share of Turkey media scene: report

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Pro-government media groups own the overwhelming majority of newspapers, radio stations, TV channels and news websites that have the largest audience in Turkey, the Diken news website reported on Wednesday, citing a recent report by the IPS Communication Foundation.

The report listed the top media outlets in terms of audience, identified as part of the Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) project.

The report found that eight daily newspapers among the top 10 most read belong to owners affiliated with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The eight include two dailies owned by the Demirören Group, two owned by the Kalyon Group and one daily owned by the İhlas, Türk Medya and Albayrak groups each.

In Turkey, out of the 10 most-watched TV channels, nine are owned by people affiliated with the government, and out of the 10 most visited news websites, seven have similar ownership, the report said.

The Doğuş Group dominates the radio broadcasting scene, while state-owned TRT has three radio stations among the top 10 most listened-to stations.

“Of the shareholders of companies that own the top 40 media outlets, most are businesspeople. The six conglomerates they own (Doğuş, Demirören, Albayrak, Ciner, Kalyon, İhlas Group) operate in sectors such as construction, energy, mining, tourism, telecommunications,” the report said.

When the media organizations in the top 10 list in their respective categories are examined in terms of audience concentration, the TV and radio sectors in Turkey show a medium concentration in terms of audience while the print media and online audience data indicate a very high concentration rate, the report found.

MOM aims to create a publicly available, continuously updated database that lists owners of all relevant mass media outlets (press, radio, television sectors and online media), thereby shedding light on the risks to media pluralism caused by media ownership concentration.

MOM was proposed and launched by Reporter ohne Grenzen e. V. – the German branch of international human rights organization Reporters without Borders. It was funded by the Federal German Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ).

When the MOM project started in 2016, RSF was working on the project in coordination with a regional agency in each country. However, updates after 2018 were left to local partners. The project is carried out in Turkey with the Bianet/IPS Communication Foundation.

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