The Fall of the Public and the Moral Contestation in the Journalistic Culture of Turkey

Asik O.

MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL OF CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION, vol.10, no.1, pp.69-85, 2017 (ESCI) identifier identifier


The deepening social polarization and increasing state pressure in Turkey undermines the participation of journalists as the custodians of public interest in the public sphere based on the principle of common good. Using the data of my ethnographic fieldwork in newsrooms, I explore the features of legitimate journalistic activity without normative connection to the public. The Islamic-based ruling party (AKP) attempts to transform the public into its own intimate, family-like sphere. Journalists are compelled to either totally merge with the akp-friendly family that dominates the public, or retreat to the privacy of the newsroom as an act of resistance and withdraw from contact with the 'other' journalistic community. Examining this "otherization" and isolation is crucial to understanding the ways in which the pursuit of professional ethics is replaced by self-centered norm-defining practices articulated in the rhetoric of intimacy rather than of the debate-oriented public sphere of journalists.