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  aims and objectives  
  Overall Objective and the Purpose of the Action

The main objective of the project is to combat racism and discrimination based on ethnic and religious grounds, through monitoring the newspapers and exposing the “problematic” articles in the media.

Turkey is a country in which the internal tension among different sectors of society almost never ends. One of the main reasons for this climate is the attitude of the mass media outlets. The media is increasingly using a nationalist and biased tone, especially on controversial issues like minority rights, the ongoing clashes between the Kurdish armed groups and the Turkish security forces, and the EU membership process. The news, especially the headlines are quite provocative, which at times, fuel the enmity and discrimination in society. Although there exists a general code of ethics for journalists and even some media outlets have their own guidelines, most journalistic work does not comply with these. The Journalists’ Association and the Press Council rarely rule that the news or articles incite hatred or discrimination. Using such a language occasionally ends up in social disturbances and a widespread prejudice towards the vulnerable groups, which may result in violent attacks on members or places of minority groups.

It is only in recent years that works on media watch and media analysis on issues like racism and discrimination became a subject of interest in Turkey. To name a few, the Med-İz group ( which monitors the gender-discrimination in the media in specific and Bianet’s ( media watch works on human rights, freedom of expression, women’s rights and children’s rights. Another media watch effort in the previous years was the “Medyakronik” ( which criticized the biased and misleading reporting of the news. The latest work is published by Kaos GL on homophobia in Turkish media” (

The media in Turkey is powerful and the racist and discriminatory articles often go unpunished or not criticized, both due to fact that it reflects the existing climate of rising nationalism in Turkey and that they go unnoticed. The existence of a systematic media watch with an advocacy and reporting angle will be deterrent in the long run. The action will demonstrate that the media is under the scrutiny of the civil society.

The second objective is to help to initiate a public debate on “hate speech” with the mid-term aim of putting pressure on legislation to introduce necessary measures to fight hate speech which bear the potential to discriminatory or racist attacks, i.e., hate crimes.

Hate speech and hate crimes are issues which lack the attention of the academia and the intellectuals, except for a few, despite the fact that frequent incidents of hate crimes take place in Turkey. These crimes are mostly considered as either “organized crimes” or “individual crimes”; yet, in many of them, the motive is either ethnic or religious.

It is clear that “hate speech” and hate crimes should be brought to the agenda of the society, in particular to the attention of the media professionals and the jurists for discussion. The wider awareness of the meaning of hate speech will facilitate the visibility and the rationale of the media watch.
This project is funded by Freidrich Neumann Stiftung, Global Dialogue and MYMEDIA/Niras. The materials that are published do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders.       funded
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