A group of activists took action against mainstream media that either remained silent or published biased information on the Taksim Gezi Park resistance process. They have founded whatishappeninginistanbul.com, a website aimed to provide reliable information to international audience and facilitate the information flow during resistance process.
The website has also its version in Turkish, istanbuldaneoluyor.com, as well as its twitter accounts @istanbuldaneler and @occupygezinews.
Reliable information flow
Activists initiated the platform after certain international news resources covered the Gezi Park resistance protests as “beer revolution”.
The website refrains from publishing information before confirming with eyewitnesses and only publishes first-hand information as a principle.
“whatishappeninginistanbul.com and istanbuldaneoluyor.com web-sites are published to provide updated and confirmed news about the protests and resistance that started last week in Istanbul and other cities. The web-sites compile texts, photos and videos and also give access to featured content from Facebook and Twitter about the resistance.”
Position of social media
The collective founded by a group of activists underscore the gap that social media filled:
“The mainstream media in Turkey – a country that has been mentioned as “the biggest prison for journalists” in the 2012 report of Journalists without Borders – turn a blind eye to the resistance that has spread from Istanbul to many other cities in and outside Turkey.
“The mainstream media have supported auto-censorship as a principle with regards to many significant issues, as it does now, and it is certain that this attitude is no longer acceptable.
“The social media has been playing a big role in terms of filling the void, and has become the platform of citizen journalism.
Activists claimed that the mainstream media covered the struggle against government forces from a manipulative or fact-distorting point of view.
“The mainstream media seem determined to either manipulating the fact that the protests have been resolutely continuing or distorting the facts in their reports. And, it has become even more difficult to access accurate information due to the information pollution, as unconfirmed information is promptly shared on the social media.
“At this point, whatishappenninginistanbul.com and istanbuldaneoluyor.com are published as platforms for sharing the confirmed information gathered from citizen journalists with the principle of proclaiming the fact that the resistance still continues with determination.
Saving of history
Activists also pointed out that these platforms helped to save the history of resistance and sustained “the spirit of this great resistance”.
“These platforms aim at sustaining the power of the protests that started on the 28th of May and become widespread all over Istanbul and Turkey without having involved in any political organisation. By preserving and publicising the texts and visuals with location and time confirmation, it aims to flag persons, brands and businesses that support those protests. These platforms also intend to sustain the spirit of this great resistance by keeping the memories of the protests, especially in a country where the current political agenda shifts in a flash.” (YY/BM)
Click here to view the full statement in English.
Photo credit: Çiçek Tahaoğlu
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