EU Media Policies in the Context of Media Pluralism and Turkey's Consistency

EU Media Policies in the Context of Media Pluralism and Turkey's Consistency

Vedat Çakır (Selcuk University, Turkey) and Sibel Ozkan (Selcuk University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1188-6.ch029

Abstract

Media pluralism is one of the basic principles of EU media policies, which enables the protection of cultural diversity and the representation of different voices in the media. One aim of media pluralism is to provide a cultural flow between all member and candidate countries that make up the Union, giving right of representation to each component, while the other is to ensure that the different voices in the countries are heard. However, this economy-centered audio-visual policy, which is based on the free circulation of television broadcasts within the Union, has been criticized for increasing the commercialization, not supporting public service broadcasting enough, and for being inadequate against the concentration in the sector. This chapter examines steps taken when reviewing the legislation on media pluralism in the EU and the reflection of Turkey's media policies and media pluralism in the application of these policies.
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Introduction

The fact that Continental Europe has witnessed human rights struggles throughout the 18th century has led to the adoption of human rights-based governance for the new states established in the region. The empires were destroyed and the nation-state understanding was effective on the whole continent. In Europe, which is shaped by this understanding, there is a need to gather under the single roof of supranational framework while considering common values and economic interests. After the World War II, the foundations of the European Union were laid with the association agreements. These agreements, which aim to bring Europe to a level of development at which it can compete with the world economically, were demanded to be guaranteed through the provision of cultural unity and solidarity. The Treaty of Rome signed in 1957 for this purpose is one of the founding treaties of the EU and remains a mechanism that directly affects the domestic law of the member states. Starting with six countries, EU now has twenty-eight member countries and five candidate countries including Turkey. Although Turkey became a candidate country in 1999 and the negotiation process started in 2005, the process of Turkey’s EU membership has continued for more than half a century. Turkey has signed important agreements like the European Economic Community (1963) and European Union- Turkey Customs Union (1996) which are important agreements in terms of EU.

As mentioned above, the European Union has shaped its common framework around human rights, which have been violated for centuries and achieved through long and hard struggles. According to Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (1957), one of the basic treaties of the European Union and also known as the Treaty of Rome, the Union is based on the values of respect for human rights including respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and the rights of persons belonging to minorities. For this reason, the Union gives importance to the policies followed by the candidate countries in this respect. Referring to Turkey-EU relations, the periods during which human rights violations are experienced most in Turkey are seen as the periods where the relations are most damaged. After the 1980 coup in Turkey, the relations were suspended and a fifteen-year recession was experienced. The most important reason behind this situation are the anti-democratic decisions that were implemented by Turkish Government after the coup, such as death penalties, closure of non-governmental organizations and parties that provided multivocality. Turkey's entry into the martial law period after the coup attempt occurred in 2016 and its domestic policy followed during this time has brought it’s relations with the EU to a breaking point. Therefore, it can be said that there is a direct relationship between the provision of internal democracy and the development of EU contacts.

EU policies are based on protecting values such as democracy, freedom, justice and equality. In order to achieve the desired democratic level, both the EU and each state within the EU must provide for each individual the rights of cultural diversity, plurivocality and legal equality. The policy of pluralism applied for the protection and development of these rights is a political method in which different voices are represented. Pluralist democracy is a form of government in which all dynamics in society are represented and included in the decision making process. Pluralism is a polical economy process and can have a positive effect if it is adopted as a mission in many areas. The media, which today penetrates a large part of social life, has an effective role in providing pluralism by incorporating all the dynamics of society. The fact that each segment of the society has a channel in which it can express its own culture, problems and values is related to the provision of media pluralism. Given its cultural effectiveness and role, the media provides a wide range of opportunities for the establishment and development of democratic values. The use of these broad facilities is made possible to the extent that is allowed and encouraged by the states' media policies.

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