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70 percent of Turks find Turkish media ‘biased, untrustworthy,’ CAP report reveals

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Seventy percent of the people in Turkey find the Turkish media to be “biased and untrustworthy,” according to a report drafted by the Center for American Progress (CAP).

CAP is a public policy research and advocacy organization that presents a liberal viewpoint on economic and social issues and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

CAP’s report sheds light on the pervasive distrust and deepening fragmentation of Turkey’s media environment by analyzing data collected by a nationally representative survey in Turkey that it had commissioned. The survey, conducted by the Metropoll polling firm from May 24, 2018, to June 4, 2018, consisted of face-to-face interviews with 2,534 people in 28 provinces and used stratified sampling and weighting methods. The survey’s results reveal that even two years ago, distrust toward the media was already widespread, including among pro-government voters, and appeared to be rapidly driving Turks away from traditional offline news sources.

These shifts in media consumption patterns have exacerbated the fragmentation of Turkey’s media landscape, widening partisan and generational divides in the ways Turks access information about politics.

Among the survey’s respondents, 50 percent of ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) supporters also said they find the Turkish media “biased and untrustworthy,” when asked the question, “In general, do you think the media in Turkey presents honest and truthful information or that it presents biased and untrustworthy information?”

To another question asking whether the Turkish government is muzzling the media, 56 percent responded in the affirmative, with 31 percent of them AKP supporters.

The AKP is widely criticized for waging war on critical media outlets and taking the media under its absolute control, particularly in the wake of a failed coup attempt in 2016, after which hundreds of media outlets were closed down and dozens of critical journalists were jailed on the pretext of a post-coup crackdown.

According to the CAP report, mistrust is pushing Turks toward online media sources that tend to be more independent of the government. A statistical analysis of CAP’s data found that if an individual thinks the media in Turkey is generally untruthful, one can be 95 percent confident that they are less likely to rely on television as their primary source of news—and 99 percent confident that they are more likely to rely on social media.

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