Thanks to UNESCO’s support, a representative of the Turkish Press Council took part in the Annual Conference of the Alliance of Independent Press Councils in Europe which took place in Budapest, Hungary from 11 to 13 October 2017. Joining this Alliance meeting for the second time, the Turkish self-regulatory body applied to become a member of the Alliance ahead of the conference. The membership was approved by the end of the event.
“In a remarkably difficult time for the media in Turkey, becoming a part of “the European family” of Press Councils is of particular importance since it recognizes the dedicated work of the Turkish Press Council, and symbolizes the support and solidarity of our colleagues towards us” said Murat Önok, vice-president of the Turkish Press Council.
The Turkish Press Council was founded in 1988 with the objective to protect freedom of expression, transparency, the right to information, and democracy. To achieve this objective, it offers citizens a complaint mechanisms to review the compliance of media with their professional ethical standards. At the moment, the press council comprises some of the leading newspapers and tv channels of the country, as well as some regional media organs.
“Our decisions on complaints are published online. Unfortunately, we are heavily under-staffed, and seriously under-financed, which means that our activities are at a national level, and conducted in Turkish. It is logistically impossible at the moment to disseminate our work internationally or in other languages. Being part of the AIPCE network will help us to start disseminate our work internationally and learn about the experiences of european peers.”
UNESCO was sponsoring the participation of the Representative from Turkish press council within the framework of the EU-funded project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey”. One key objective of the project is to strengthen media self-regulation mechanisms in the region. In Turkey, UNESCO is in parallel partnering this year with an organization called P24 to conduct a national consultation on the state of and prospects for media self-regulation in the country.