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MEDIA IN TURKEY 

1 May 1964 was a turning point for Turkish Radio and Television broadcasting. The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), which was established on this date, brought a public and institutional identity to radio broadcasting, which had a long history, and television which had started test broadcasting. The transfer by the state of broadcasting to an authorized and responsible unit made it possible to follow the developments closely in this field. In the 1990s, the conditions were created for private radio and television broadcasting, both in an objective and subjective sense. In this period, besides TRT, many private radio stations and television channels actually started broadcasting. The obstacles for private enterprise were removed with an amendment made in Article 133 of the Constitution on 10 July 1993. With the regulations made after the amendment to the Constitution, many national, regional and local radio stations and television channels applied to the Supreme Board of Radio and Television which was established with the law. Turkey acquired between 1990-1998 a diversity and richness rarely encountered with the great advances displayed in this field. Hence, on the 1998 report of OECD on communications, it is announced that Turkey is the record-holder on development in radio and TV broadcasts. While the average of increase in radio-TV sector in OECD was 3.4 percent in the 1995-1997 period, in Turkey the development of this sector in this two-year period was 24.3 percent.

 

The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation. A dual structure appeared in Turkey with the entrance into the broadcasting world of the private radio and television organizations in the 1990s: TRT, which was established in 1964, and the private television channels, which started to broadcast later. TRT remained in a separate position in this field, both from the aspect of its perception of broadcasting and from its legal structure. TRT Law No. 2954, is a document that clarifies the different position of TRT. TRT is a broadcasting institution providing public service and has constitutional autonomy.

The opening of TRT Turkmenistan Bureau.

TRT which acts with a perception of public service, has 7 television channels. These are: TRT1, which addresses the general public and has a perception of diverse broadcasting; TRT2, which makes broadcasts of culture and art; and TRT3, which has a "youth" channel identity with different types of music programs and sports programs. Furthermore, TRT3 is a bridge between the members of Parliament and citizens, with its live broadcasts from the Turkish Grand National Assembly at specific hours of the day. TRT4 is an educational channel which includes the open university and open high school lessons and its broadcasts support the national education policy. TRT-INT and TRT-AVRASYA with its broadcasts abroad has the function of a bridge between Europe and Asia. Furthermore, the GAP-TV broadcasts in the provinces included in scope of the development project in the Southeastern Anatolia Region.

TRT, through radio channels, also applies its perception of "thematic channels" on television to its radio stations. Radio 1, broadcasting at MW 1017, provides services with a perception of general and diverse broadcasts. Radio 3 is primarily a classical music station but also broadcasts polyphonic music, jazz, and western pop. It also presents news service to the foreigners in the country with its regular news broadcasts in English, French and German.

 

"Sayısal Gece" (Loto Night), a favorite magazine program on TRT

TRT FM, which emphasizes Turkish classical music, Turkish folk music and popular music addresses its audience at FM 91.4. Besides these channels, there are also regional radio stations within the structure of TRT, such as Voice of Turkey Radio, which broadcasts in 26 languages with the aim of forming a positive public opinion in the world about Turkey, Tourism Radio, which broadcasts in 5 languages aimed at foreign tourists in the country and GAP-Diyarbakır Radio, aimed at provinces included in the Southeast Anatolia Project (GAP).

 

Private Radio Stations and Television Channels. There are 16 private television channels broadcasting nationally. ATV, Kanal D, Show TV, Star TV, NTV and TGRT are among the most popular of the private television channels. Star1, the first private television channel in Turkey, started broadcasting from abroad in 1990 and later, after a change in management, it continued its broadcasts with the name of Interstar. Show TV started broadcasting in 1992 and initially attracted interest with its short news programs. ATV which is the television channel of the Sabah Newspaper Group, started broadcasting in 1993. Kanal D of the Doğan Group and TGRT of the İhlas Group also started broadcasting in the same year. Furthermore, the music channels "Kral TV", "Number One TV" and "Best TV", the economy channel "Kanal E" and the news channels "NTV" and "CNN-Türk" are among the leading private television channels with a perception of thematic broadcasting.

A total of 244 private TV networks, of which 15 are regional and 229 local, have applied to the Supreme Council of Radio and Television (RTÜK) for licenses in the country.

Studies made on the subject of the ratios of private radio station listeners, show that Best FM, Süper FM, Show Radio, Radio D, Alem FM, Power FM and Number One FM are among the most important national radio stations. A significant portion of the private radio stations emphasize pop music in their broadcasts. There are also radio stations among these which broadcast only foreign pop music.

A total of 1,180 radio stations, of which 36 broadcasting at national, 108 at regional and 1,036 at local scales, are active in the country.
Private radio stations and television channels finance themselves. Their only income sources are advertisements.

 

The Supreme Council of Radio and Television. Article 8 of the "Law on the Establishment and Broadcasting of Radio Stations and Television Channels" No. 3984, which went into effect on 20 April 1994, defines the functions of the Supreme Council of Radio and Television (RTÜK), which has legal autonomy. 

 

According to this definition, RTÜK has been given the important authority to make national and regional frequency planning and to give permission and licenses to entrepreneurs who apply to them. Furthermore, it has the authority to supervise the broadcasting of radio stations and television channels within the framework of the broadcasting principles stated in the law. To conduct activities and applications observing the principles of the European Cross-border Television Agreement is also among the functions of RTÜK. According to the law, RTÜK evaluates the impressions of public opinion on the subject of broadcasts and provides the necessary relations on these subjects with the related organizations.
The policy of supervision of RTÜK is shaped by the decrees envisaged by Law No. 3984. RTÜK warns private radio stations and television channels which do not fulfil their obligations, exceed the conditions of the permission and which make broadcasts in violation of the broadcasting principles and fundamentals. If the violation is repeated, then RTÜK has the authority to close the broadcasting temporarily or cancel the permission, depending on the seriousness of the violation. The shared opinion of all the sectors in media is the need for making radical changes in Law No. 3984.

                       

The quiz show "Who Wants 500 Billion Liras?"

 

The Laws Organizing the Radio and Television Institutions. The most important document organizing radio and television institutions is the Constitution. Audio-visual broadcasting in Turkey, organized by this basic document, is regulated by the "Law on the Establishment and Broad- casting of Radio Stations and Television Channels" No. 3984, TRT Law No. 2954, and the European Cross-border Television Agreement.

Furthermore, the Advertising Regulations which specify the activities of the RTÜK are among important regulations. In these regulations, the related articles of the Constitution and Article 133 have been considered within a hierarchical structuring. In particular, the European Cross-border Television Agreement was taken into consideration when Law No. 3984 was prepared.

Programs. Law No. 3984 has certain restrictions on the subject of providing a balanced distribution in broadcasts. According to these, the private radio stations and television channels have to include education and culture programs in certain proportions in their broadcasts. 

"Bir Yol Hikayesi" (Tales from the Road) is among the documentary programs that audiences enjoy most.

At the same time, the condition is sought for taking great care for the Turkish language in the program with the objective of preserving Turkish and supporting the proper use of Turkish by the society.

Excluding the regulations, besides the productions of foreign origin, domestic productions on television also hold an important place. Especially in recent years, news, competitions, discussions, panel discussion programs and Turkish serials attract great interest. It is observed that television channels display a tendency in this direction. Entertainment and sports programs also have an important place in broadcasting. A significant portion of radio stations emphasize the broadcasting of popular music. However, radio stations following a thematic perception shape their broadcasts depending on their themes.

 

Press

In Turkey, the competition between the written and visual press is gradually tending towards the written press. The importance carried by the written press because of its nature was shaken for a period of time compared to television and radio, but it started to recover in a short period of time. The annual average number of sale of the 21 newspapers published at the national level has reached 4 million. A significant part of the national press utilizes the highest technology available in the world. According to the polls, the habit of reading newspapers in total population is 66 percent.

Local newspapers, which assumed an influential role during the National War of Independence, have an important function for meeting the need for news of the public. Anadolu Press Association reports that 3,450 periodicals, half of them weekly, are published in Turkey. The average daily circulation of local newspapers varies between 1,000 and 15,000. Local newspapers assume an important duty to provide for the relations among the public institutions, organizations and the citizens and to organize these relations. The local press has been trying to renew itself technologically in recent years. Many local newspapers, which follow the national press in utilizing modern technology, has started to use offset printing techniques.

The number of magazines published on various subjects has increased rapidly in recent years. As a matter of fact, the total number of magazines which was 20 in 1990, reached 110 in 1999. The total circulation of the magazines, which are generally published weekly or monthly, is around 2,300,000. News magazines, which give interesting news stories and detailed information about the subjects of current interest, underwent an important change from the aspect of context and form in recent years. A majority of these have assumed a contemporary appearance and have become attractive from the aspect of printing and presentation. Besides news magazines, the economy magazines, radio and television programs magazines, automobiles, arts, literature, women, men, youth/music magazines are also read with enjoyment by the public.

The readers find a great number of magazines published periodically that consider at length the subjects on the agenda

The economic press, that has a limited group of readers, is concentrated especially on magazines, besides the daily newspapers. Furthermore, illustrated magazines, travel, cuisine, decoration, sports, health, computer and humor magazines are also among the interesting magazines for readers. Turkey, with a fairly old past in the field of humor magazine-printing, is among the leading countries of the world.

 

The Concentration in the Press and Financing. The activities conducted on income sources based on advertisement revenues and sales in Turkey have shown that the annual average sales of the written press is 400-600 million US dollars from sales alone. The advertisement revenues are close to this figure. According to this, the total annual sales of the written press is around 1 billion US dollars. It is obvious that from the aspect of annual sales, the press sector is an important sector. Furthermore, because of its effectiveness for forming public opinion, it is an area that attracts the entrepreneurs. Consequently, the written press in Turkey is experiencing an important concentration problem.

                               

This causes some problems for employees and the new entrepreneurs rather than for the publication policies and news perceptions of the newspapers. Although there are 21 newspapers at the national level, a significant portion of these are collected among a few groups. However, this situation has not caused problems of significant dimensions for the newspapers to fulfill their functions up until the present.

There are three important press groups in Turkey. One of these is the Do¤an Media Group. The Milliyet newspaper, founded by Ali Naci Karacan on 3 May 1950, transformed into a large publication group in the 1990s. A total of 8 of the newspapers published nationwide belong to the Doğan Media Group. The Bilgin Media Group has also an important place in the Turkish press world with its newspapers, magazines and other partnerships within its structure. The İhlas Group is also another known media group with its newspaper, news agency and television both in the press and in other fields of activities. Besides these groups, there are many other media such as the Uzan Media Group, the Akşam Media Group, the Doğuş Group and the Feza Journalism with high ratios of readers, viewers and listeners.


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