Polarisation, misinformation and fear: insights into Turkish media

Digital News Report 2018 – Turkey Supplementary Report by Dr Servet Yanatma, visiting fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

By Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

Television is the main news source in Turkey, followed by online news, according to a new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

The Turkey Supplementary Report – which is based on the 2018 Digital News Report, a global study of how 74,000 people in 37 countries access news – reveals that while some trends in Turkey are similar to those elsewhere, there are a number of differences in behaviour that could be linked to Turkey’s polarised political environment.

The report, by Dr Servet Yanatma, found that closed messaging apps have taken over from Facebook for news. This may be linked to fears about government surveillance on social networks.

  • More people (48%) cite television as their main news source. Online news, including social media, is the second most cited main news source (39%)
  • The number of those citing online news, including social media, as their main news source has plateaued this year, after two years of growth
  • The share of smartphones as the main device used to access news has risen significantly – from 28% to 43% in three years.
  • Television channels dominate the traditional top brands. FOX TV is still the most preferred source – both in weekly usage and as a main source, followed by CNN Türk, NTV, and TRT.
  • Only two newspapers (Hürriyet and Sözcü) are listed in the top ten traditional brands.
  • The figures for overall trust (38%) and distrust (40%) in Turkish news media are remarkably similar. This is an indicator of Turkey’s polarised society and news media.
  • Turkey is at the top of all 37 countries for the proportion (65%) stating concern that openly expressing their political views online could get them into trouble with the authorities.