Türkiye’s alternatives

In connection with the election in Türkiye, IMS supports media to produce alternative coverage to the government-controlled outlets

The elections in Türkiye on 14 May are widely considered the most consequential in the country’s recent history, as they will likely determine whether the country will continue along its increasingly authoritarian path or dramatically change course. In Reporters Without Borders’ recently published World Press Freedom Index 2023 the situation in Turkey has gone from “problematic” to “very bad” and Türkiye slides down 16 spots to being number 165 on a list of 180.

During the 21-year AKP rule, democratic institutions in Türkiye have been weakened due to increasing authoritarianism, nepotism and widespread corruption. Major political transformation forced by Erdogan’s governments have gone largely unreported as news media was taken under strict control through changes in ownership structures, censorship, intimidation and crackdown. Türkiye also remains the country with most jailed journalists in the world.

In this context, IMS sees it as crucial that alternative outlets are supported and enabled in their quest to produce an alternative and public interest narrative of developments in the country, including coverage of the political campaigns and issues that matter to the Turkish people.

Independent and/or public interest media outlets are few and far between in today’s Türkiye. IMS has, in recent years, worked with and supported a couple of them.

In connection with the 14 May elections in Türkiye, IMS supports partners to produce coverage before, during and after the vote, representing an alternative – and less biased – voice than the government-controlled and -friendly outlets that dominate the Turkish media sector. Much of this elections-related content is aimed at younger voters, whose demands and preferences will be decisive in Türkiye’s future and who are in need of sources for accurate, modern and in-depth journalism that can help them better understand the world around them, make their voices and demands heard, learn about different perspectives around key issues facing the country, and develop immunity against rampant disinformation and media manipulations.

By providing their audiences with good journalism presented in modern storytelling formats they like to engage with across social platforms, IMS’ partners aim to help audiences understand and make informed decisions about the major transformation Turkey is going through.

“While the outcome of the Turkish elections is unclear, it is crucial that the existing independent media actors are supported and sustained for the future,” says Andreas Sugar, IMS’ Head of Rapid Response.

Concretely, IMS provides financial support to enable partners to produce interview series with experts on the most discussed topics around elections as well as photo and video reports from key districts and campaign rallies.