March 31, 2019 Local Elections and the Media

March 31, 2019 Local Elections and the Media

Ceren Yegen
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1734-5.ch006
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Voters in a democracy contribute to the governance process and mediate the legitimacy of equality and pluralism. This is of great importance in terms of understanding and legitimizing the true meaning of democracy. In the last decade, Turkey has experienced many elections. Local elections on March 31, 2019 were very important. They were quite different in terms of the presentation of political parties and their candidates in the media because both politicians and the public ascribed a lot of meaning to these elections. Therefore, the media showed great interest in the March 31, 2019 local elections, frequently featuring public opinion polls, election campaigns, and political statements that informed voters in real time. This chapter examines the media content of the March 31, 2019 elections.
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Social practices are shaped by the teachings of the modern world and universal values and criteria try to adapt to the changes that the world is going through. In addition to the changes experienced by the society in many areas, changes in fundamental values and rituals are also observed. The individual who needs to see various differences in the postmodern era has to adapt to the differences in today's age, which is digitalized every day. In our modern world today, we sometimes criticize the social order and sometimes exalt it based on its well-accepted practices. However, it is always imagined to reach a better world and a fairer society. Collective living spaces and practices are directly related to how individuals, who comprise the society, are located and represented. Democracy is essential for countries and societies. Democracy is essentially a return to collective life and an indispensable argument of existence. Democracy, which includes individuals into political decision-making processes and is against the dictatorships, in fact, aims the development of civil society. Because of this, discussions on democracy are based on the idea of civil society, and the concepts of democracy and civil society are interpreted in a way that they are intertwined. Civil society is seen as a sociological counterpart and even as a subset of democracy in the political sphere. In democracies, elections, during which voters participate in the process by voting, are popular discussion topics in many parts of the world. Discussions, allegations, campaigns, and political conflicts about local or general elections are the routine of these periods. It is because the elections are important for both voters and parties/political actors (Becker, 2016; Calvert and Burnell, 2004).

There are some controversial situations in the functioning of democracy, which accepts elections as an important element. For example, discontent is caused by corporate deficiency, which prevents accountability and good governance (Diamond, 2001). According to Diamond (2001), systems of the party and campaign finance are deeply defective in many democracies (old and new). Citizens are considered as powerless to change the system, however, the media is not the same, since it can reveal it. In fact, media has a mediating role in the development of democracy. Therefore, the role and the attitude of the media, which is observed to be undergoing a structural transformation based on new media today, is very important in democratic processes. So, in this study, the contribution of the media in terms of providing information about politics before the local elections held in Turkey on March 31, 2019 will be examined. In this context, news and public opinion polls about the mentioned elections will be discussed in the light of the hermeneutics approach. The media outlets were selected through verdictive sampling. The reason for this preference was the ideological stances of the media organizations (Sabah, Sözcü, Yeni Çağ Newspapers). Sabah is a newspaper close to the government, while the Sözcü is a newspaper opposing the government. Yeni Çağ is a nationalist newspaper. Therefore, the diversity of the sample is obvious and important for the access and interpretation of comparable data. Accessing and interpreting comparable data enables analysis of different approaches.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Citizen: Individuals with responsibilities to the state and benefiting from the rights provided by the state.

Election: Elections are the essence of democracy and allow the people to choose the people to govern them.

Civil Society: Civil society is an organized state of society. Civil society is an essential element of democracy and it is an important social actor in the welfare and progress of society.

Social media: Social media is a very popular phenomenon. Social media that develops with communication technologies is an interactive and fast communication medium. Social media has gone beyond a communication platform and even a habit today. Social media today covers a significant portion of the lives of individuals.

Democracy: Democracy is the doctrine that sees citizens as equal and gives them equal rights and freedoms. Democracy attaches great importance to the role of the people in the election of the government and it refers to the superiority and sovereignty of the people.

Society: Society is a community of individuals living together, and members of society have many historical and cultural partnerships. Individuals in society affect each other.

Online News: Online news take place on various online platforms and can be defined as digital news. Its basis is the internet technology. Internet news sites provide online news.

Voting Behavior: It usually manifests itself by voting the views and attitudes of the voters.

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