Despite efforts to control, gov't fails to monopolize information

Despite efforts to control, gov't fails to monopolize information

In a recent article first published on the Yeni Arayış website, Veysel Ok discusses the ongoing challenges in Turkey concerning freedom of expression and the rule of law. Ok highlights that despite the government's attempts to control information and suppress journalism, these efforts have largely been unsuccessful


Turkey, historically never fully embodying a state governed by law, continues to grapple with significant obstacles in ensuring freedom of expression and an independent judiciary. The situation has further deteriorated following the 2016 coup attempt, which marked the beginning of a period characterized by increased repression of rights and freedoms.

Thousands of individuals were arrested post-coup, with many still imprisoned. Numerous media outlets were shut down or seized through court orders, and access to countless websites was blocked. The government granted broad powers to suppress television broadcasts, signaling an escalation in censorship.

Despite the Turkish Constitution guaranteeing extensive freedom of expression and the principle of rule of law, these are often ignored or undermined by courts and judges influenced by the political climate. They overlook the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, keeping individuals imprisoned out of vindictiveness.

The previous characterization of Turkey as not being a state governed by law now seems inadequate. A more accurate and current description is that Turkey is no longer even a state governed by its laws.

In the media landscape, the majority of mainstream media is controlled by capital groups aligned with the government. However, despite this dominance, the government is unable to dictate the news agenda or monopolize the flow of information. Smaller internet news sites and social media have become the central hubs for news and journalism in Turkey.

This shift is largely due to brave journalists who, despite legal risks and limited budgets, continue to report and disseminate information. The government has recognized this and has imposed new restrictions on internet media, including strict conditions for operating internet television and empowering censorship bodies like the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) to regulate this domain.

There have been significant legal changes to regulate popular social media companies and access user data.

Despite this grim picture, where individuals are continually arrested and all areas are sought to be controlled, hope persists. People are still fighting for the free circulation of information. Recently, police raids in Van and Istanbul resulted in the detention of several journalists, and last week in Izmir, journalists were detained and then released on judicial control.

Despite the ongoing pressure, there are journalists who risk arrest to continue their work and lawyers who defend them. The fact that arrests and trials continue, and journalists face judicial harassment weekly, indicates that the government has not achieved its objective of dominating the journalistic landscape. If it had, Turkey would not witness ongoing trials and frequent new arrests.

In conclusion, the relentless pursuit of journalism and news reporting, despite the resulting new judicial pressures, underscores the government's failure to achieve its goal of controlling information.


Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) haber alma hakkı, ifade özgürlüğü ve basın özgürlüğü alanlarında faaliyet yürüten bir sivil toplum kuruluşudur. Derneğimiz başta gazeteciler olmak üzere mesleki faaliyetleri sebebiyle yargılanan kişilere hukuki destek vermektedir.