In Scandal, Turkey’s Leaders May Be Losing Their Tight Grip on News Media
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has labeled an investigative reporter who has published a number of leaked documents related to a widening corruption scandal a traitor. Mr. Erdogan’s lawyers have also filed suit against a newspaper columnist, once a reliable supporter of the prime minister, for his critical Twitter messages.
Under Mr. Erdogan’s leadership, Turkey has gained a reputation for harassing and intimidating the news media. More journalists are in jail in Turkey than anywhere else in the world, including China and Iran.
In Turkey as elsewhere in the Middle East, the explosion of Internet-based media outlets has surpassed the ability of the government to control information completely. When Nazli Ilicak, a longtime journalist here, lost her job recently at the pro-government newspaper Sabah after emerging as a strong voice against the government’s handling of the corruption inquiry, she said she would simply keep up her criticism on Twitter and on independent websites.
“I have 500,000 followers,” she said in a recent television appearance. “That’s more than Sabah’s circulation.” [Emphasis added.]
I’m not sure whether this is an article about Turkey or an article about Twitter. Fascinating, either way.