‘Who Owns the Media in Turkey?’ – Media Ownership Monitoring Project

The results of the joint project “Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) Turkey” run by IPS Communication Foundation/ bianet and Reporter ohne Grenzen, the German wing of RSF (Reporters without Borders) were presented today (October 27) at a press conference.

The results of the research, the three-month advocating project #momturkey can be viewed on the website of the project.

In the MOM online database, ownership structures of the most important media outlets in Turkey are displayed and traceable to individuals, whose political and economic interests are also displayed. The majority of media owners are active in other industrial sectors, such as energy, transport and construction and depend on the government for public contracts in these sectors. In Turkish television, still the most relevant type of media, seven of the ten most important owners are politically affiliated with the ruling party.

Apart from personal profiles of Turkey’s most influential media owners, MOM also sheds light on some failures of the media market as such, hinting at additional, undue political influence. The distribution of public funds on advertising for example, being one existentially important source of income for smaller papers, remains hidden. MOM’s request on this topic was turned down by the Turkish Right to Information Assessment Council, citing “trade secrets” as a reason. The same happened with a request regarding Turkey’s state-owned broadcaster’s (TRT) finances.

The research provides following findings in brief:

Owners of the media

* Among the shareholders of companies that own the top 40 media outlets, most are commercial corporations. The conglomerates they own (Doğan, Doğuş, Demirören, Ciner, Albayrak, Turkuvaz/Zirve/Kalyon, İhlas and Ethem Sancak companies) operate in sectors such as construction, energy, mining and tourism.

* Some of them, such as the Albayrak group, Turkuvaz/Zirve/Kalyon group, İhlas group and Doğuş have won major public tenders in the past few years, ranging from the third airport to metro construction and urban redevelopment projects on a neighbourhood scale. These investments are more closely examined in the Business Interests section. The owners of these companies, at the very least, have their political interests closely tied to their economic interests, which is to maintain and increase their investments, possible only if they keep on good terms with the ruling party.

Political affiliations

* Among the shareholders of companies that own the top 40 media outlets, most are businessmen. The conglomerates they own (Doğan, Doğuş, Demirören, Ciner, Albayrak, Turkuvaz/Zirve/Kalyon, İhlas and Ethem Sancak companies) operate in sectors such as construction, energy, mining and tourism.

* Doğan group is the only major player in mainstream media who publishes a considerable amount of critical content, and thus is targeted often by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The family also has major investments outside the media, though, unlike the other conglomerates, they haven’t taken major tenders from the government in the recent years.

When Doğan is eliminated, the rest of the 7 groups that own other major businesses (Doğuş, Demirören, Ciner, Albayrak, Turkuvaz/Zirve/Kalyon, İhlas and ES) publish almost half out of the top 40 media outlets compiled by MOM according to their audience shares. Among the top 40 media outlets, they own 7 newspapers (Sabah, Türkiye, Takvim, Habertürk, Milliyet, Yeni Şafak, Güneş ), 4 TVs (ATV, A Haber, SHOW TV, Star TV, NTV) 4 radios (A Haber Radyo, Kral FM, NTV Radyo, TGRT FM) and 4 websites (sabah.com.tr, milliyet.com.tr, haberturk.com, gazetevatan.com). It can be said that these media outlets openly support the government, President Erdoğan and the ruling party, instead of engaging in critical, objective journalism.

Media audience concentration

* Top 5 owners in TV share more than half of the entire audience. It is the pro-government Turkuvaz Media that reaches the largest audience share in this market (12.04%). The mainstream Dogan Media comes second with 10.82% of the shares of the audience and state run TRT third with 10.52% of the audience. Doğuş Media Group, the executives of which are considered to be in direct talks with the government regarding the management of their TV channels, hold 10,15% of the TV audience in Turkey. The pro-government Ciner Media Group holds 8.63%.

* The radio sector in Turkey shows a medium concentration in terms of audience, with the major 4 companies reaching almost 40% of the audience. A large part (21%) of the radio audience in Turkey is held by Doğuş Media Group, the owners and executives of which are thought to be directly answering to the government regarding the management of the media group. Power Media, which is powerful only in the radio, sector holds 15% of the listeners. State run TRT channels hold 11%. The largest media group in Turkey, Dogan Media, holds 10% of radio listeners.

* The distribution data of print media in Turkey is an issue of large debate, as the circulation shares of most print outlets are found to be inconsistent and unreliable by many experts. After exhaustive research regarding the “real” circulation numbers, the MOM team in Turkey finally accepted the official numbers as fact. According to these numbers, print media circulations are highly concentrated with four major owners holding 57% of readership. These are Doğan (22), Turkuvaz Media (15), Esmedya (12) and Estetik Media (10).

Cross-media ownership concentration

* The cross-media audience shares were calculated according to the influence of different media sectors on the public in Turkey. According to research by Reuters Academy, 90% of the people in Turkey rely on the Internet for news. 80% rely on TV, whereas 54% use print media and 41% use radio to access news.

*Top 5 owners in TV share more than half of the entire audience. It is the pro-government Turkuvaz Media that reaches the largest audience share in this market (12.04%). The mainstream Dogan Media comes second with 10.82% of the shares of the audience and state run TRT third with 10.52% of the audience. Doğuş Media Group, the executives of which are considered to be in direct talks with the government regarding the management of their TV channels, hold 10,15% of the TV audience in Turkey. The pro-government Ciner Media Group holds 8.63%.

*The radio sector in Turkey shows a medium concentration in terms of audience, with the major 4 companies reaching almost 40% of the audience. A large part (21%) of the radio audience in Turkey is held by Doğuş Media Group, the owners and executives of which are thought to be directly answering to the government regarding the management of the media group. Power Media, which is powerful only in the radio, sector holds 15% of the listeners. State run TRT channels hold 11%. The largest media group in Turkey, Dogan Media, holds 10% of radio listeners

*The distribution data of print media in Turkey is an issue of large debate, as the circulation shares of most print outlets are found to be inconsistent and unreliable by many experts. After exhaustive research regarding the “real” circulation numbers, the MOM team in Turkey finally accepted the official numbers as fact. According to these numbers, print media circulations are highly concentrated with four major owners holding 57% of readership. These are Doğan (22), Turkuvaz Media (15), Esmedya (12) and Estetik Media (10).

About the project

MOM is a global initiative launched by Reporter ohne Grenzen, the German wing of the international press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

It has been or is being carried out in eight countries worldwide, including Tunisia, Ukraine, Peru, the Philippines, Columbia and Cambodia. The project is funded by the German Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ). RSF cooperates with regional partners in the project.

Click here to view the research (EA/DG)

 

This article was originally published by Bianet .

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