Dilek Beybin Kejanlioglu & Salvatore Scifo
Positioning Alternative Journalism Practice in Turkey
The last decade, following the rise of web-based alternative media outlets and the increasing interest in researching the use of media by social movements, has brought to the fore a flourishing area of studies that focuses on alternative media practice both at the global and ultra-local levels. Scholars as Atton (2002), Downing (2001) and Carpentier et al. (2003) have outlined the theoretical and historical contours of alternative media, providing a framework that fostered research in different geographical and media-specific contexts.
This research aims to discuss the empowering opportunities and structural challenges of operating alternative media in the specific historical, political and economic constraints of Turkey, positioning it within global discussions in this area of study (Atton (2007), Atton and Hamilton (2008), Forde (2011) and Lievrouw (2011)). The case of the independent communication network BIA is examined as an instance that facilitates the training of alternative modes of media production in the country (Kejanlioglu et al., 2012), by involving those traditionally excluded by mainstream media as women, minorities and children. By doing so, it also discusses the role of external media funding to sustain civil society voices in the Turkish media landscape, and the absence of an enabling environment for the diffusion of media outlets outside the direct control of state and market forces.