EVERYTHING SHOULD BE UNDER THE SUN...
NO New Nuclear Weapons... NO New Nuclear Targets... NO New Pretexts For Nuclear War... NO Nuclear Testing...
NO Star Wars... NO Weapons In Space...
NO All Types Of Weapons, War & War Culture...
We have only one WORLD yet! If we destroy it, where else will we go?

Turkish Media in 2002                                             

50-Story-High Skyscraper for
"Turkish Internet Administration"


Articles and digital arts by Ugur AKINCI, Ph.D.



(Turkish Torque
: Friday, April 26, 2002)  I still can't get over the new proposed RTUK [Turkish Supreme Commission for Radio and Television] law that intends to treat web sites as mere printed publications.

The Constitution Commission of the Turkish Parliament that approved the draft bill and is about to send it to the General Assembly for a vote does not seem to have any idea what a web site is all about. Otherwise, how could it stipulate that all web sites daily submit a duplicate copy of their contents to the nearest Chief Prosecutor’s Office (Cumhuriyet Savciligi) as well as to the Office of the Governor (valilik) or the County Chief Executive (kaymakamlik)?

To accomplish such a job, the "Turkish Internet Administration" (or Ministry?) of the future probably needs a 50-story-high skyscraper.

Let me explain why:

I made a quick search on the Google Search Engine to determine the approximate number of Turkish web sites. I searched for the keyword "turkce" (which effectively eliminates most non-Turkish web sites about Turkey). Google returned an astonishing 129,000 web sites.

Since some of these "sites" are actually "pages" that belong to the same site, and some of them may very well be hosted on non-Turkish servers, I threw away 29,000 of them. That left me with the round number 100,000.

Since, on another Turkish web site I’ve actually read that "there might be 90,000 web sites in Turkey today," I am relatively confident that this is a realistic number representing all existing Turkish web sites hosted within Turkey. (When my wife found the number a bit too high, I made another search by using the name of the village in Kayseri where her uncle still lives. Google returned 609 results!)

If we assume that an average web site has 10 pages (a very low number for many web sites), we end up with 1,000,000 (one million) total pages. Since the new RTUK law demands duplicate copies, this would necessitate submission of 2,000,000 web pages a day, every day.

That adds up to 60,000,000 (sixty million pages) to monitor every month.

Since government workers (let’s say) work only 6 full days, or 24 days a month, the "Turkish Internet Administration" must read and grade 2,500,000 (two-and-a-half million) web pages a day.

Let’s assume that an average government worker can read 100 pages a day. That would translate to 25,000 civil servants, pouring over web pages on a daily basis.

But where would these 25,000 civil servants perform their duties? If we assume that 5 workers work in an average government office room, one would need 5,000 office rooms. If one would build a "Turkish Internet Administration" headquarters with 100 rooms to a floor, that would make a 50-story-high skyscraper.

That would be an exciting contribution to Ankara’s skyline indeed since I do not think there any 50-story-high skyscrapers in Ankara (or Turkey?) yet. But, if the Turkish Parliament’s General Assembly votes the bill into a law and forces President Sezer to sign it (since he cannot veto it twice in a row) then perhaps that also means that it’s time to start building the tallest administrative building in whole Turkey.

Any offers?

* * * * *




Cloudy Skies Over Turkish Media


(Turkish Torque, Thursday, May 16, 2002) Turkish Parliament's General Assembly has unfortunately passed (201-to-87) the RTUK (Radio Television Higher Council) Media Law on Wednesday May 15, 2002. 245 deputies (127 ruling, 118 opposition) did not participate in the vote.

In the months and years ahead, one may expect to see more stories like that of the Datca journalist Sinan Kara due to the heavy penalties the new law brings for a series of media infractions (examples below). The monetary penalties, ranging from TL 10 Billion to TL 100 Billion, can run as high as TL 250 Billion for repeat offenses.

Daily Hurriyet, which published Kara's story, has supported the new media law on the grounds that the law would flush out the "real owners" of the Islamist publications and TV/radio stations. Hurriyet columnist Fatih Altayli, while taking note of its deficient articles, has neverthless recommended first passing the bill and then amending some of its articles (like those that regulate the Internet) later on. Such pro-Islamic dailies as Zaman and Yeni Safak have been fighting the RTUK law with every weapon in their journalistic arsenal for the last month.

Datça Journalist Gets 9 Years for Allegedly "Upsetting" Kaymakam

Sinan Kara has been practicing journalism for the last 11 years in the Mediterranean coastal town of gorgeous Datca. He is a reporter for Dogan Haber Ajansi, and the owner of Datca Haber. His stories have been published in such mainstream press outlets as Hurriyet, Milliyet, Radikal, Gozcu, Posta, and aired on Kanal D and CNN Turk TV channels.

Kara's career took an unfortunate turn last August when he published a story that read: "Swimming of dogs has been banned by the Kaymakam [the Sub-Province Governor] who claims that canines taking a bath at sea is a sin (haram)."

Kara was slapped with 18 (eighteen) separate law suits that brought him 9 (nine) years in jail. In addition, he was also sentenced to pay TL 4 Billion. (For the Turkish original of this story see http://www.hurriyetim.com.tr/haber/0,,sid~1@nvid~127622,00.asp)

Secular-liberal Hurriyet which carried the story (Kara works for the same Dogan Media Group) claimed that Kaymakam Savas Tuncer, Attorney General of the Republic Kerim Tosun, and Datca Judge Mustafa Akmaz were in collusion against Journalist Kara and approved Kara's sentencing in the first session of the trial, with the "speed of a jet plane."

Which brings us to our next story: passing of the RTUK Media Law by the Turkish Parliament.


The law, which has been vetoed by President Sezer last year (on the grounds of its unconstitutionality) and lambasted by RTUK Chairman Nuri Kayis himself, is sent back to the President once again. The President has 15 days to decide whether to approve it or re-send it to Turkish Constitutional Court. Legal opinion is divided as to whether Sezer has to rubber-stamp the bill or re-veto it since only 18 of the original 30 articles of the law were discussed before the General Assembly vote.

All three coalition parties, (DSP, MHP and ANAP) voted for the law except DSP Deputies Uluc Gurkan (a former journalist), Ali Arabaci and Ziya Aktas who voted against. MHP’s State Minister Ramazan Mirzaoglu, ANAP’s Musa Ozturk and DSP’s Salih Dayioglu abstained. Islamist-conservative SP, AKP and center-liberal DYP fought against the passage of the bill.

The RTUK Media Law allows up to 50% ownership of TV stations by any one individual (up from a max of 20%). Owners of private radio and TV stations are also allowed to participate in government tenders and trade in the stock market. Critics of the law claim that these provisions will greatly increase the extent of monopolization in the Turkish media.

Ertugrul Ozkok, the powerful Managing Editor of the secular-liberal Hurriyet has written that 90% of the $ 400-500 Million annual advertisement pie is shared among the top 12-to-15 media organizations. Those who oppose the law expect such uneven distribution of rewards to become even more uneven in the future. As a consequence, they also expect the survival pressure on the small- and/or anti-establishment press to increase.

Perhaps it is a sheer coincidence that both Ozkok and HaberTurk’s owner Ufuk Guldemir were hospitalized with severe chest pains within the last week. Their cardiograms revealed that they luckily did not have a heart attack and they were both released from hospital. (A third veteran journalist, Metin Munir, however, had a real heart attack two weeks ago. He is recuperating.) Such hospitalizations can also be taken as indications of the tremendous pressures Turkish media members are subjected to within the last couple of months in defending and attacking this RTUK Media Law.

The RTUK Media Law’s truly unacceptable provisions concern Internet journalism. With this law, all Internet sites are considered mere printed publications. Thus all such Internet sites are expected to submit daily the contents of the site in duplicate to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office (Cumhuriyet Savciligi) as well as to the Office of the Governor (valilik) or the County Chief Executive’s Office (kaymakamlik).

According to the new RTUK law, no web site can contain any material that violates the "supremacy of the law, the general principles of the Turkish Constitution, fundamental rights and freedoms, national security, and general morality."

All web content will be offered in the spirit of "a public service." No web content will be allowed to contain any material that targets "the Turkish Republic's existence and independence, the indivisible union of the Turkish state with its people and country, or Ataturk's principles and revolutions."

Moreover, the Turkish web sites will be prohibited from offering content that "incites violence, separatism and enmity," or runs against "the national and moral values of the society and structure of the Turkish family."

The web sites will have to preserve the "secrecy of private lives." The web contents will be "along the same lines as the Turkish national education's general goals, basic principles" and will serve the purpose of "furthering the national culture."

The web sites will not be allowed to attack the "personality (manevi sahsiyet) of individuals."

They will be prohibited from serving "unjust purposes or interests (haksiz amac ve cikarlar)."

These web sites will also be responsible for maintaining "equality of opportunity" among political parties and democratic groups...

What this all will boil down to is a massive exodus of Turkish web sites to the servers located in foreign countries. The number of web sites which cannot be hosted inside Turkey but which nevertheless do continue to broadcast freely from outside will increase. Two examples that immediately comes to mind are www.atin.org and www.yolsuzluk.com.

By pushing to the underground such internet operations, the Turkish government will not only fail to control such broadcasts but will also tarnish Turkey's reputation for setting obstacles against free expression of ideas. That is the last thing Turkey needs in this critical phase when Turkey is trying to enter the European Union as a full member while finding an urgent solution to the Cyprus problem.

Secular and democratic Turkey may experience difficulties in continuing to be a "model" to the rest of the developing and Islamic world if the Turkish Parliament insists on such anti-liberal media regulations.



The Great Internet Fiasco of 2002

(Turkish Torque Thursday, April 11, 2002) The latest RTUK (Turkish Radio-TV Supreme Council) bill becomes a law it will be close to impossible to launch a private web site in Turkey and maintain it, unless you have squeaky-clean and officially-approved content, a fantastic budget, and a staff of dozens.

Why? Because, according to the Article 27 of the said legislation, you’ll have to satisfy all of the following conditions:

1) You’ll first have to submit a written petition to the Office of the Province Governor (Valilik) and obtain a permission.

2) After you secure the official permission you will have to submit the contents of every page on your site in duplicate (and, if I'm not wrong, on a daily basis) to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office (Cumhuriyet Savciligi) as well as to the Office of the Governor (valilik) or the County Chief Executive’s Office (kaymakamlik).

3) According to the new RTUK law, no web site can contain any material that violates the "supremacy of the law, the general principles of the Turkish Constitution, fundamental rights and freedoms, national security, and general morality." All web content will be offered in the spirit of "a public service." No web content will be allowed to contain any material that targets "the Turkish Republic's existence and independence, the indivisible union of the Turkish state with its people and country, or Ataturk's principles and revolutions." Moreover, the Turkish web sites will be prohibited from offering content that "incites violence, separatism and enmity," or runs against "the national and moral values of the society and structure of the Turkish family." The web sites will preserve the "secrecy of private lives." The web contents will be "along the same lines as the Turkish national education's general goals, basic principles" and will serve the purpose of "furthering the national culture." No web sites will be allowed to attack the "personality (manevi sahsiyet) of individuals." Turkish web sites will be prohibited from serving "unjust purposes or interests (haksiz amac ve cikarlar)." Web sites will also be responsible for maintaining "equality of opportunity" among political parties and democratic groups...

I can go on and on but you get the idea.

The first draft of the RTUK law was vetoed last year by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, a former Justice of the Constitutional Court, for its legal shortcomings. The bill has already been approved by Turkish Parliament's Constitution Commission and will shortly be sent to the General Assembly. This is the bill's second reincarnation. Therefore, if it is accepted by the General Assembly and sent back to Sezer for his signature, Sezer will not have the right to exercise his veto power for a second time. It already looks like a done deal, unfortunately.

I imagine there will be a new state bureaucracy just to make sure that Turkish web sites are approved, maintained, and kept free of any harmful content. How else will the Turkish state examine and monitor tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands? millions?) of web pages submitted daily?

How will fairness and justice be maintained among the web sites that are rejected and approved? It is hard to comprehend.

How will the state prevent unwanted web sites posted on servers outside Turkey's national borders? Will there be a "national filter" system enforced by the PTT and all private telecommunication firms to make sure that no Turkish user can access such offensive sites from inside Turkey? How will the state bureaucracy deal with the new technical challenges posed by the new wireless systems and hand-held units?

This law is a serious below to the hundreds of private web sites that bloomed all over Turkey within the last couple of years, delivering very original local content, providing an exciting and stiff competition to the established media outlets. By strapping these private web sites into a very tight straight-jacket, the Turkish government will not be advancing the freedom of expression in the country. The only ones that will gain from it will be the existing media oligopolies.

It seems like the RTUK bill is drafted by lawmakers who do not know their servers from their client machines, and who have no idea how the Internet works. That's why in the long run this is not an enforceable bill. The Turkish lawmakers will sooner or later find that out as well, but not before trying to push back the private ownership of web sites -- the most democratizing force of social evolution since the invention of television.

* * * * *

Özkök Delivers Mega Salvo in RTUK Media Law Controversy


(Turkish Torque , Wednesday, May 8, 2002) The discussions around highly controversial Turkish RTUK (Radio and Television Higher Council) Media Law has entered a heated and feverish phase with the bill waiting its turn to hit the General Assembly floor. Turkish press reported that, the pressures on the bill in its present form is so great that the voting will be postponed to next week.

The law has become a political football between two main camps in Turkish media: The center-liberal secular establishmentarians (e.g. daily Hurriyet, Milliyet) and pro-Islamic libertarian anti-establishmentarians (e.g. daily Yeni Safak, Zaman). Hurriyet's influential General Managing Editor Ertugrul Ozkok delivered the loudest salvo of this battle-to-the-finish by publishing a very confrontational column on May 7, titled "Princes of Darkness, I'm Waiting For You" (see http://www.hurriyetim.com.tr/archive_articledisplay/0,,sid~9@nvid~124185,00.asp <http://click.topica.com/maaamaxaaR5xxa4dDbRc/>  for original essay in Turkish).

If the RTUK law leads to more centralization and growth of monopolies in Turkish media, then he is ready to apologize from the Turkish people and quit journalism, Ozkok told his readers.

But in return he said, if the bill does not lead to increased centralization and monopolization, he also expected those "AKP deputies in the Parliament, SP deputies and their extensions in the media, will you also show the courage I'm displaying here and resign from Parliament? Will you quit journalism?"

"Let's see who will end up standing in this duel, that is, if they have the courage for such chivalry," Ozkok wrote, fumes of indignant anger reeking from his every word.

Top-seller Hurriyet is the admiral's ship of Turkey's center-liberal media and Ertugrul Ozkok is as famous and powerful a media figure in Turkey as Dan Rather, or perhaps, Tom Brokaw is in the United States. This escalation of cannon fire is an indication of the depth of the gap separating the parties and the size of the interests riding on the outcome.

3 Aspects of RTUK media Law

There are 3 aspects of the RTUK law that galvanize the opposing sides to such frenzy:

1) Extent of ownership in the TV stations and whether the owners would be allowed to participate in lucrative state tenders are top burning issues. Currently, if an individual owns more than 20% of any TV station he/she is not allowed to participate in state bids.

Ozkok claims that the new law will help identify the real owners hiding behind today's fragmented proxy-ownership structure. Pro-Islamic camp is scared that all the pro-Islamic politicos and religious orders operating such TV stations for their "nefarious purposes" would be exposed to the bright light of public scrutiny. That's why they want to defeat this law with everything in their disposal, Ozkok et al. claim.

The pro-Islamists, on the other hand, claim that the new law will allow big media bosses win state tenders and increase their monopolistic control over Turkish media, as well as Turkish economy and banking.

2) Heavy penalties for various violations that would be brought upon medium-sized and small media establishments would effectively muzzle or bankrupt many independent media organizations, the critics of the law complain.

3) The implementation of the same printed-press regulations for Internet sites would end up closing most of them since the Kafkaesque requirements (like submitting two copies of every web page every day to the local government office) cannot be satisfied by these small operations surviving on shoestring budgets and minimal (mostly voluntary) staff. However, due to their highly-visible exposition of many corruption cases (see www.yolsuzluk.com, for example, a site banned in Turkey) such Internet sites are targeted by the political establishment, the critics of the law claim. The absurdity of the Internet articles of the RTUK law is widely accepted, even by such central-liberal and pro-State columnists as Fatih Altayli of Hurriyet.


What does Kayis say?

Among the chief critics of the RTUK law is President Ahmet Necdet Sezer (who has already vetoed the bill draft last month) and Nuri Kayis, RTUK's Chairman himself.

In an appeal he has made to the Turkish parliamentarians on May 22, 2001 in opposition to the law, Chairman Kayis raised the following concerns:

1) If the bill becomes a law, monopolization trend in the Turkish media will accelerate. In time, media monopolies will gain a power that would be beyond control.

2) Turkish media organizations should learn how to stand on their feet by relying on their readers, not on subsidies, credits and the opportunities provided by the state.

3) Today some holdings are active in a number of sectors, including media and have an important economic might.

Some media giants that also have extensive investments in non-media sectors:

The UZAN GROUP, the owner of daily Star, Turkish News, Star TV and Kral-Teleon TV also controls Kanal 6 TV and owns the following: Imar Bank, Adabank, Cukurova Elektrik Power Plant, Kepez Elektrik Power Plant, Rumeli Elektrik Power Plant, Rumeli Cimento Cement Plant, Trabzon Cimento Cement Plant,, Ladik Cimento Cement Plant,, Van Cimento Cement Plant,, Sanliurfa Cimento Cement Plant, Bartin Cimento Cement Plant, Gaziantep Cimento Cement Plant, Rumeli Holding, Cestas, Telsim (cellular phone company), Eltem, Standard Insaat Construction Company, Yapi Ticaret, Tunceli Pamuk Iplik (Cotton Thread), Istanbulspor S.S. Sports Club, Adanaspor A.S. Sports Club.

DOGAN GROUP OF COMPANIES own the [top-selling] dailies Hurriyet, Milliyet, Radikal, Posta, Fanatik, Turkish Daily News, 36 magazines, Kanal D TV, CNN Turk TV, Disbank Bank, Dogan Otomobilcilik (Automotive Group), Dogan Yayincilik Publishing, Ditas, Yaratim Saglik (Health), Ray Sigorta Insurance, Dogan Finansal Kiralama (Financial Leasing), Zigana Elektrik Power Plant, Celik Halat (Rope Factory), Petrol Ofisi (oil distribution), Yaysat, Rekpa, Hurguc, Dogan-Raks (audio, video cassettes and CDs).

DOGUS GROUP owns NTV TV and CNBC-E TV, as well as Garanti Bankasi Bank, Osmanli Bankasi Bank, Korfezbank Bank, Filiz Gida (agribusiness), and 20 other assorted companies.

CUKUROVA GROUP owns Show TV and daily Aksam, as well as Turkcell (cellular phone), Yapi Kredi Bank, Pamukbank Bank, Cukurova Insaat (Construction), Cukurova Makine (Machinery), and Cukurova Celik (Steel).

4) The bill eliminates RTUK's autonomy. Only five of nine RTUK members are proposed to be elected by the Parliament. According to the current political alignment, the government will have the opportunity to appoint 7 out 9 RTUK members.

5) The Communication Faculties in the universities will not be able to establish their own radio and TV stations.

6) Due to the penalties it brings, the RTUK law will violate European Union norms and it will thus be sent back to the Parliament for revisions.

7) The monetary penalties foreseen by this bill is too heavy to bear for a lot of medium- and small-size media organizations. Local TV stations in Anatolia will go bankrupt if they are forced to pay penalties ranging from TL 10 billion to TL 125 billion.

8) State TV and radio (TRT) will be accorded a privileged status by placing it beyond RTUK's control and regulations. This would create an unfair advantage favoring TRT.


* * * * *

Radio Monopoly vs. Profits in the U.S.

(Turkish Torque ,Thursday, May 30, 2002) The Turkish RTUK Media Law No. 4676 has been sent by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer to Turkish Constitutional Court for a second review and a possible appeal. The same bill was vetoed by President Sezer last year. However, since the Turkish Parliament has sent the same law back to the Presidential Palace, Sezer did not have a chance to veto it for a second time. But since all 30 articles of the bill were not discussed by the General Assembly, he exercised his right to demand a second Constitutional Court review.

Both President Sezer and RTUK Chairman Nuri Kayis strongly opposed the bill not only because it contained articles that would muzzle freedom of expression in Turkey, but also because it could create monopolies in the Turkish media. [A linguistic sidebar: Technically, I should really be talking about "oligopolies" since "monopolies" is a contradiction by definition. But I’ll stick with the incorrect term because it is used frequently both in Turkey and the United States.]

After reading the text of the Law No. 4676, I’ve got curious about the situation in the United States.

Did, for example, a similar change in media/communication legislation lead to monopolization in American media – as the opponents of 4676 claim?

The answer in "yes." The U.S. Telecommunications Act of 1996 removed many of the old ownership limits in the U.S. radio and television industry. Since then there has also been a pronounced increase in monopolization in U.S. media. The concentration of radio station ownership in a few hands, for example, is one very clear post-1996 trend. Previously, a person could own only four radio stations in any given metropolitan "market." Now it’s eight. It used to be that a company could own a total of no more than forty radio stations. Now there’s no limit.

However, that’s not the end of the story.

A silent assumption behind the warnings against monopolization is that "monopolies make more money" through predatory pricing forced upon a captive audience.

I’ve come across a surprising fact: the same U.S. media monopolies did not always make more money than before. Some actually seem to be losing money. The pie gets bigger but when swallowed it sometimes turns into a poison pill.

 

This is how the process worked in the United States:

1) Taking advantage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, those owners with access to credit started to gobble up their smaller competitors. Some of these smaller competitors voluntarily sold their stations at the highest possible prices and moved onto other ventures.

2) Monopoly owners acquired their competitors so fast that they ended up with a huge debt. To pay off their debt, they had no choice but to enforce operational standardization and consolidation of previously separate functions.

3) The drive to save money and to lower overhead costs forced these TV and radio stations to fire people, to saddle the remaining staff with multi-tasks, broadcast only the commercially safest and focus-group-researched fare, and resort to taped or "automated" programs during late-night and pre-dawn hours. Through the "voice tracking" technology, instead of relying on local talk-show hosts and DJs, these monopolies started to employ nationally renown media personalities with a following to host shows at a distance. So that, for example, the same radio DJ physically working in Washington D.C. started to host programs for local stations owned by the same monopoly in Detroit and Los Angeles as though he were actually there.

4) As a result of bland programming and elimination of local content, both the number of listeners/viewers dropped and advertisement dollars started to dry up. Thus the revenue-draining  cycle started to regenerate itself.


Clear Channel Corporation


A case in point is Clear Channel (CC) corporation
which today owns approximately one out of every ten radio stations in the United States -- 1,220 out of a total of 11,400 commercial radio stations. Before the Act of 1996, CC owned only 30 radio stations.

In the $350 million Washington D.C. radio ad market (probably 65% of the total TV and radio ad market in Turkey) CC owns the top 8 FM radio stations (including Soft Rock 97.1, Big 100 WBIG, DC101, 98.7 WMZQ) and 18 smaller stations in Maryland and Virginia. On the AM side, CC also owns 3 more stations. Its market share in Washington market is around 30%. In some cities like Charlottesville, Virginia, CC’s market share could soon hit an incredible 90%.


If there is a media monopoly, Clear Channel is it.


However, the company lost money every quarter last year
, as reported by the Washington Post. CC’s annual loss stands at $ 1.1 billion dollars. Due to its aggressive expansion, it has a total debt of $8 billion. Due to a decrease in advertising revenues, its stock lost 50% of its value within the last year. In the Washington D.C. market, CC’s radio ad market share slipped from 28.8% last year to 27.7%.

If economies of scale and a tightly run ship could save a radio monopoly, it would have saved CC and made it a profitable enterprise by now. For example, all five major FM stations that CC owns in Washington are run from the same unassuming building on the Rockville Pike in Rockville, Maryland, where "everyone here has at least two or three jobs," according to Bennett Zier who runs all CC operations in the area. One station’s program director regularly doubles up as the program director of another one, although the two stations may be broadcasting diametrically opposed music styles like rock’n roll versus bluegrass. "The eight stations [owned by CC] are programmed by just four people," the Washington Post reported.

What it comes down to is that listeners did not forgive poor quality -- bland programming plus up to 20 minutes of commercials per hour. It is a fact that Americans spend 10% less time listening to their radios than in 1996 – precisely the year in which the new and permissive Telecommunications Act was passed. Thus, in accordance with the "Law of Unintended Consequences," what spiraled out as an opportunity for giant radio monopolies to control the market and squeeze every available dollar out of the airwaves has actually backfired and is now costing the same monopolies dearly.


"But that's America. And this is Turkey..."


But this process is unfolding itself within a relatively open market structure where the number of listeners and advertising dollars dance a classic tango of supply and demand.

That’s why on the one hand I feel like saying that one should not be that concerned about the prospects of monopolization in Turkish media because if they can’t give superior service to the listeners and viewers, they’ll end up getting crushed under their own weight. And if, on the other hand, they end up giving better service at a lower price, who is to suffer?

Yet, knowing how political power in Turkey can be jostled and leveraged to reward even the most inept economic ventures, I’m also afraid that, even if they broadcast mediocre content that no one enjoys and no advertiser rewards, these Turkish media monopolies may not be selected out of the market by the kind of "evolutionary" mechanism one observes in the United States. Instead, just like all those Turkish bankers who were rewarded handsomely for lending out non-performing loans and bankrupting their own banks, these media monopolies may find a way to get rewarded for their market failures as well.

That’s why such comparisons between Turkish and American processes must always take into account the outer political context within which such market dynamics are playing themselves out. That’s perhaps where the "social science" stops and journalism begins.


- . -


Note:
1- Above articles published previously Ugur Akinci's e-newsletters in Turkish Torque
between April and May 2002.

2- Ugur Akinci's digital arts have been published as the first time on the Light Millennium
e-platform.

3- Ugur Akinci's his own current e-publications continue on the Turkish Torque web site:
http://tork.blogspot.com

E-mail to the author: ugurakinci@aol.com

© Copyright 2002 Ugur Akinci, Ph.D.

   
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