Community radio in Turkey: Government Publications and Private Publications

Radio history has different parts which are government publications and private publications in Turkey. Private publications has gone throught tough process to come to today. Occasionally, the protest has caused state monopoly. People protesting the closure of private radio car radio antennas were wearing black ribbons.
Turkey’s first radio broadcast was made in 1927 with private corporation. That was continued until 1964. Turkey Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) was established in 1964. Radio broadcasting was made by TRT until 1992. Government monopoly system was changed that year. (Kuyucu, M., Türkiye’de Özel Radyo Yayıncılığı: Ulusal Ölçekte Yayın Yapan Özel Radyo Kanallarının Yapıları Üzerine Bir Araştırma, 2013, İstanbul)
In that term, legal basis problems was induced some backlash. Community radio increased in number. Government could not control their publish content. And government had wanted to control number of community radio. When community radio broadcasting banned by government, people reacted by protest until legal basis was made. A radio station made publishing in a boat on the sea of Marmara. (–1263906 – Access, 15 April 2014) This period resembles UK, US, Germany and France. The Boat That Rocked (2009) is the best movie about this period in UK. After banned Minister of Transport and Communication Yaşar Topçu had said that “We will shut down this radio station. We can not allow anyone tell that what you want. If you want when you want it to behave as we return to Patagonia. We do not allow such things.” (Cumhuriyet Newspaper, 24 September 1992)
1058 community radios are broadcasting in Turkey according to Radio and Television Supreme Council data in 2013. Music, news and kind of community programs are followed by approximative 2 million audience. Community radios are broadcasting 7 days 24 hours in 7 geographic area. Marmara area has maximum number of community radio. (Kuyucu, M., Türkiye’de Özel Radyo Yayıncılığı: Ulusal Ölçekte Yayın Yapan Özel Radyo Kanallarının Yapıları Üzerine Bir Araştırma, 2013, İstanbul)

Local community radio stations allows to communication for different local languages and minority groups. Despite different local languages and minority groups in Eastern in Turkey, less number of local community radio stations are broadcasting at there.

Participatory media: be aware of chains

Intensification of media and information technology led people to participate media practices. This is the accepted discourse of alternative media studies. There is no doubt that participation practices incredibly increased in terms of traditional practices. Yet, my concern is about this excessively increased the discourse of participatory media could also be turned into a chain, which share in somehow traditional media practices.
The justification of my argument will be proved by institutional practices of facebook, twitter, instagram or commentary options of online newsmaking. Limitations and requirement of those public media organizations create a way of producing media texts. For instance, story is quite clear for twitter; you have certain word accounts! Instagram explain you well that I was created to solve your desire to share photos, or editorial control mechanism of commentary options of the online news practices. These institutional control mechanisms and rules also determine the level of participation to the alterative media organization.
In stress, it could be quite wrong to say that alternative media and social media organizations are not liberating us; they liberate us from the common, hierarchical journalism practices because any longer citizen could produces news with applying to wordpress or other operational organs. Yet, ‘mainstreamed’ social media organizations both create increased participatory practices and institutional limits which could be turned into a chain for citizens or self-censorship system for users. Therefore, it is quite important to consider the mainstreamed discourse of social media practices. They are not only liberating us, but also they are teaching certain rules, regulation and content as well.

Underground Press for Activist Purposes

Even though underground press’ target audience is not massive in numbers compared to other types of press, it has something that other types of press generally do not possess in them: passion to make a change. The examples of underground press making a change can be seen throughout history. For example, the feminist movements have used underground press in 1960’s, Thomas Paine’s pamphlet ‘Common Sense’ during the American Revolution declaring independence from British rule  and so on in order to be organized.

Underground press has various means of media such as zines, journals, pamphlets, newspapers, flyers, posters, and etc. Because of the cheapness of production of these print forms, they are easier to produce in high numbers and reach more people. However, the problem with its availability is that it cannot easily reach every people on the world because, unlike mainstream press, it does not possess means of logistics and financing that mainstream press generally does.

If underground press solves these two problems it traditionally encounters, then it may have a higher chance to make a change in world. However, when that happens, it will no longer be called as underground press, as it will be similar to the mainstream media in many ways.

Press to Impress (week 4)

In the late 60s, Underground Press was constituted for a whole young generation dreaming of another world, a great breath of fresh air, and a colorful and noisy broth culture stirring incredibly new and utopia stimulating ideas. Generally represented though magazines and fanzines, the 60s and 70s underground press focused more on issues like sexual liberation, beatniks, pop art, psychedelism, joints and music. This creative period seemed to be very successful in terms of distribution and readership and expressed undergound revolution that changed or would have changed society. This freedom and variety of expression make us dream though. Examples of famous international underground magazines are: Oz in the UK, Combat and Libération in France, Village Voice in the US, Hungry Generation in India. All these magazines represented the unheard voices of the people, in a time where oppression was dominating, which could not stop the people from resisting. Now the question is, why did underground press massively slowed down its circulation since then? And is the current underground press as free and open as in the previous generation?

Video Activism as Witnessing

Social movements have the crucial role not only in terms of transforming society, but also with reference to transforming both the mainstream media and audience. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to identify social movements with the transformative characteristic and because of it, especially in the time of social movements, media gains alternative, radical position both in itself and for itself. At this juncture video movements and video activism as form of the alternative media manifested itself in particular more specifically in the second half of the 20th century in most part of the world including Turkey. From feminist, black, student, LGBT movements to many leftist movements was able to find a radical meaning in the beginning of video production through video activism.

The significant growth in the number of producer is one of the main purpose for alternative media in order to practice its emancipatory potential and ensuring democratization of communication. Likewise ‘author as producer’ conceptualization, video activism aims at increasing participation in production process in order to gives voice and reflect demands of opposite, minority, powerless people and most importantly activists in themselves. In terms of agents of video activism and its reactionary history against the mainstream television broadcasting, video becomes a kind of participatory media. These participatory videos do not funded by state or private enterprise on the contrary of public service broadcasting channels and private service broadcasting channels and also through the usage of new media technologies these videos can be shared by many people. It means that the alternative ways of distribution gives chance to video activism makes itself visible without need of government, advertisements or any other commercial funding practices.
In addition, these participatory videos emerged as the consequence of necessity, in particular need of every people for sharing their voices, providing participatory witnessing and a kind of second stream against the mainstream media. However, video activism not only practices itself against the dominant one, but also aimed to seize and record the moment as such a memory particularly in social movement times. For instance, in the period of Gezi Resistance, one of the video activism platform KameraSokak has this motto: “sokağın bellek tutucuları”, “memory guard of the streets”. This motto makes clear how video activism has role of recording, streaming and transmitting the reactionary soul of social movements contrary to mainstream media.

As similar to KameraSokak example, this kind of participatory videos do not have an aesthetic concern mainly, because these are shoot by activists that makes activist directly producer of participatory video in order to become witness of the radical experience. Also in Gezi Resistance due to lack of the mainstream broadcasting channel in terms of reflecting police violence and resistance directly, some websites make live broadcasting in order to fill this lacuna like nabermedya. Actually this live broadcasting intend to reflect the social reality rather than aiming at aesthetic concern.

However, some examples of participatory videos are shot with targeted aesthetic concern at the same time. As an example, ubuweb that define itself as a: “completely independent resource dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts. All materials on UbuWeb are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights belong to the author.” This website has a video & films category that includes participatory films and videos that produced with both aesthetic concern and video activism. Because producers of these videos, made an effort as video activists beforehand.

Related Links:
1) KameraSokak:
2) NaberMedya:
3) Ubuweb:

Repressive regime cause more production for videos (Week 5)

Labanese artist Rabih Mroué who had given an interview Radikal Newspaper’s columnist Pınar Öğünç said that our perception and production are affected by smart phone and their video recording. For instance, huge group of people had mobilized in Tunis, Egypt and Yemen after that videos. Active producers and/or citizens had recorded enemys (US army) who had acted in hostile and perniciously. On the other hand, US soldier was used video recording for propaganda at the same time.
The example above shows that alternative videos are vital. Records, which by citizens or active producers had recorded, are shown some tv channel or internet, state’s and people’s attitudes towards events affect. Therefore, occasionally, states are blocking some television channels or internet which allow shown that. Whereas, this records are indicator for democratical participation.
Government’s neo-liberal theory is content to rely on elected officials to represent the interests to citizens within a legally-structured political and economic framework, participatory theory seeks to involve citizens more directly in the democratic process (Held 1987, 4). Alternative media and alternative ways have not old history in Turkey like Europe, US or Argentina. Alternative film, video and television recently increase in Turkey. In last decade, limited participant television channels, for example +1 tv and halk tv, are broadcasting on satellite and internet. Nonetheless, wide range of television channels are broadcasting proper for mainstream media and dominant goverment. Particularly video and participant communication increase with cost-effective technology. Hence, youth who uses smart phone and some tecnology were very effective at the Gezi or Berkin Elvan’s protests. Those videos were remarkable and important with their discourse.
In that case, videos which are recorded by active producers are important. Especially protest demonstration videos which are shown grassroot’s real reaction against politic process are shown on internet. Therefore, frequently Youtube and social media like Twitter are forbidden in Turkey by goverment. As a consequence, more videos, documentary and film are shown in film festivals and on the different internet channel. Repressive regime cause more production for videos.

“Democratic Talk” From Past to Today

The purpose of democratic talk is to create citizens who can think as a public, make reasoned political judgements, and imagine a common future for the common good ( Barber 1984, 197 ).
In this space, individuals are able to represent themselves and their perspectives directly to others. Additionally individuals tend to express explicitly their ideology, opinions and discuss freely collective problems such as social problems, human rights, culturel issues with being non-partisan and non-profit entity. Accsess televison and participatory political communication provides an area that give informations about what are happening in our country and also in the world.
An example from the past, Martin Luther King was an American pastor, activist and the leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He organized nonviolent protest that attracting national attention following television news covarage of the brutal police response. He also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his “ I Have a Dream” speech. Therefore he established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history. Also he was the voice of minorty and justice.
In conclusion, today we have a wide range of device to organize public forums around issues that concern us and to become a part of communication process which are necessary for self-governance via access television channels, videos.



Riot Grrrl Case To Understand Necessity of Underground Press

Underground media is one of the aspects of alternative media that I was stimulated not just because of its ‘free’ discourse but also, in practice, it is the living organism to empower group of people, idea or ideology.

In this entry, my concern will be mostly shaped by regarding to operational power of the underground media outputs such as fanzines, posters and flyers. In particular, fanzines have a potential to activate group of people because it can be most propellant power and motivative figure in the social organizations. For instance, in the early 1900’s, group of feminist woman was organized around the fanzines and music. They were called as riot girrrl and they were radical feminist, they were against hierarchical order of the society but also they were criticizing professionalism in the music industry so that they were producing music alternatively and their lyrics was empowering women in the conditions of dispersed inequality. Fanzines were their manifestations and their attempt to get people in their riot.

Mainstream media industry organized around powerful dominant group. In this case, women were excluded in the gendered social world and also, both media industry and music industry shaped by patriarchal agents. Discursive practices were so productive to create and dominate inequalities with legitimizing exploitation of the women body. Therefore, media preferred to reify feminist, liberating discourse of women in the media texts. Therefore, these radical organizations of woman need their own, free press system and fanzines were quite proper to circulate their ideas both in terms of its cheapness and free organizational system without advertisements of capitalist industry.

In this case, riot grrrl movement benefited from the underground media especially by fanzines to create and empower woman in the music industry and gendered social system because they could create their own liberating discourse to publicize woman exploitation and domesticity, violence, unfair patriarchal system, gendered division of labour and so on.

General Overview to the Underground Press

The history of the underground press can be defined in connection with the beginning of the history of the printing press, because the importance of the underground press emerged as a kind of opposition against the established ideas in particular with its radical perspective. Therefore from the Middle Age, Enlightenment period to contemporary times, underground press manifests itself as the reactionary one against the dominant one. In the beginning of the practice, it calls into being through social, political and reformation movements so as to provide accessibility for the people, challenge the dominant ideology and so on.

Particular target audience

 Although even if today it still maintains them, at the same time it has another distinctive characteristics. For instance, in relation to giving voices to minorities, underground press should has the particular target audience as quite the opposite of the mainstream media and its commercial interest. With reference to Khibiany’s case study the monthly ‘Red Pepper’, the irony is that, while the Comedia strategy of a broad-based, professionally produced publication failed miserably, concessions to the much more traditional strategy of publishing on a shoestring and addressing a relatively small audience of those interested in leftist ideas have at least managed to provide a way for Red Pepper to survive. (Khibiany: 461). That’s why its failure because of commercial strategies of Comedia especially aimed to reach the wider audience is really crucial example in order to understand the importance of specifying the target audience for the underground press.

‘Author as producer’

In terms of dimensions of the underground press, its content and organization have the considerable importance most importantly in order to provide counter-information through filling the lack of the mainstream media with its political, anti-commercial and non-hierarchical characteristics. Indeed, these parameters obviously make the underground press as under the root of alternative media, however not only its content and organization makes it alternative, but also process in itself has importance for providing way of survive. Above all, the revolutionary characteristic of the underground press with its political ends can return to the counter-revolutionary. According to Walter Benjamin, “revolutionary it may seem, has a counter revolutionary function as long as the writer feels his solidarity with the proletariat only in his attitudes, but not as a producer.” (Benjamin: 72).  Therefore, it is obvious that his conceptualization of ‘the author as producer’ comes into prominence again and again. Besides their political tendency, it is necessary to the have productive apparatus for production that make possible more blurred distinction between consumer and producer rather than bourgeois apparatus of production.


. Khiabany, G. (2000) “Red Pepper: a New Model for the Alternative Press?”, in Media, Culture

  & Society, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 461

. Benjamin, W. (1970) “The Author as Producer”, in New Left Review, pp.72