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Turkey: Media System

Esra A. Özcan


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Turkey (population 70 million; 2007 census) is a parliamentary republic with a multiparty system, a centralized government, and an authoritarian-secular bureaucratic tradition. The country's history is characterized by military coups, heavy state control over the media, and rapid liberalization, bringing its media system closer to the media systems in parts of Latin America and Southeastern Europe ( Christensen 2007 ; → West Asia: Media Systems ). Turkey has been a candidate country for European Union (EU) membership since 1999. It is the only EU candidate with a majority Muslim population. In line with the EU framework, the country has passed constitutional reforms and democratization packages, which have influenced the media scene considerably in the last decade, particularly in breaking the ban on broadcasting in the Kurdish language (→ European Union: Communication Law ; Kurdish International Broadcasting ). Although the constitution mentioned basic rights of freedom of opinion and of the press, the press in Turkey suffered from numerous legal restrictions and censorship throughout its history ( Çatalbaş 2007 ; → Censorship ; Freedom of the Press, Concept of ). Turkey passed a new Press Law in 2004 which seemed promising in the beginning, yet the restrictive measures in the Turkish Penal Code that came into effect in 2005 led to the prosecution of journalists and writers ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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