Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is MOM?
The “Media Ownership Monitor” (MOM) has been developed as a mapping tool in order to create a publicly available, continuously updated database that lists owners of all relevant mass media outlets (press, radio, television sectors and online media).
MOM aims to shed light on the risks to media pluralism caused by media ownership concentration (for more information: Methodology). In order to grasp the national characteristics and detect risk-enhancing or risk-reducing factors for media concentration, MOM also qualitatively assesses the market conditions and legal environment.
2. Who is behind MOM?
MOM has been proposed and launched by Reporter ohne Grenzen e. V. – the German section of the international human rights organization Reporters without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF), which aims to defend freedom of the press and the right to inform and be informed anywhere in the world. It was funded by the Federal German Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ).
When the MOM project started in 2016, RSF was working on the project in coordination with a regional agency in each country. However, updates after 2018 were left to local partners. The project is carried out in Turkey with the bianet/IPS Communication Foundation.
MOM Turkey 2020 updates were funded by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
3. Where can I download this report?
The website affords a PDF download containing all website content. The PDF is automatically generated and, thus, updated on a daily basis. It exists for all website languages. In order to generate the PDF, scroll down to the website footer, choose your preferred language and click “Download complete website as PDF”.
4. Why is transparency of media ownership important?
Media pluralism is a key aspect of democratic societies as free, independent, and diverse media reflect divergent viewpoints and allow criticism of people in power. Risks to diversity of ideas are caused by media market concentration, when only a few players exert dominant influence on public opinion and raise entrance barriers for other players and perspectives (media ownership concentration). The biggest obstacle to fight it is lack of transparency of media ownership:
How can people evaluate the reliability of information, if they don´t know who provides it? How can journalists work properly, if they don´t know who controls the company they work for? And how can media authorities address excessive media concentration, if they don´t know who is behind the media´s steering wheel?
MOM, thus, aims to create transparency and to answer the question “who eventually controls media content?” in order to raise public awareness, to create a fact base for advocacy to hold political and economic players accountable for the existing conditions.
5. What kind of concentration regulation does MOM suggest?
MOM doesn’t make normative statements – it doesn’t suggest how to control media ownership. Which form of media concentration control can work depends on the context of the country, the existing legal and market conditions, the ownership landscape.
MOM provides a transparency tool to enforce a democratic discussion on that issue as well as good governance: Decisions are likely to be of higher quality and to better reflect the needs and wishes of the people if they have access to adequate information and broad consultations, with views and opinions freely shared.
6. How is data collected and validated?
♦ Preferably, official data sources, and/or sources with a high level of reliability and trust are used.
♦ The Presidency's Communication Center (CİMER) and Press Advertisement Institution (BİK) of Turkey were referred to many times for this project.
♦ Whenever not publicly available, information was directly requested from media companies and research institutes.
♦ We mainly used data made available by:
KONDA Research and Consultancy
GoodWorks Communication Consultancy
Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK)
Trade Registry Gazette (ticaretsicil.gov.tr)
İstanbul Chamber of Commerce
Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat)
Radio Monitoring Services Organization (RİAK)
TV Audience Research Company (TİAK)
In order to guarantee and verify the objective evaluation, MOM worked with an advisory group that commented and consulted throughout the research process. It was composed of national specialists with substantial knowledge and experience in the media and communications fields.
Amongst others, the following experts were accompanying the research process of the MOM Turkey with their knowledge, views and comments from 2016 to 2020:
Erol Önderoğlu, Reporters Without Borders Turkey Representative (MOM 2016, 2018 & 2020)
Asaf Ardak, Chair of Press Monitoring and Research Association (MOM 2016)
Fikret İlkiz, Legal Advisor (MOM 2016, 2018, 2020)
Nadire Mater, IPS Communication Foundation Chair (MOM 2016, 2018, 2020)
Evren Gönül, IPS Communication Foundation Project Coordinator (MOM 2016, 2018, 2020)
All sources are thoroughly documented and archived. Information is available on request at bianet.
7. How is "most relevant media" defined?
The main question is: which media outlets influence the opinion-forming process? In order to scan all relevant media, we included all traditional media types (Print, Radio, TV, online).
The media were selected according to the following criteria:
MOM focused on media with the highest reach, measured by audience share. Because there was almost no public data on the finances of media companies, we used audience shares of these companies to highlight their influence on public opinion. While calculating cross-media ownership and the largest media companies in the sector, we included audience data on the whole of the market. This way we calculated the companies that hold the media outlets with largest audience shares.
The basis for selection were the media consumption surveys or information provided by the responses by Presidency's Communication Center (CİMER), TV Audience Research Institution (TİAK), Radio Listening Rates Institution (RİAK), Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), GEMIUS Audience and Press Advertisement Institution (BİK). These are all available upon request to bianet.
At most 10 media outlets per media type (TV, radio, print, Online) were selected for research. However, we also added the media that were once in the top 10 but were shut down for political reasons.
We studied mainly the largest media companies in depth. However, information on some smaller companies and groups can also be found on the website, because these were also relevant to the matter of political control over media.
We looked at past articles, reports regarding ownership and political affiliations. The news about the media owners were examined. Connections and collaborations noted. We also included the phone conversations allegedly held by government officials, including Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with media executives and businesspeople in 2013. Even though there is no finding as to the existence of a personal relation between Doğuş Holding and the government, we have added Doğuş Holding to the companies "with ties to the government" on the grounds that the related conversations showed that Erdoğan and his advisers interfered with the management of this media group.
The study focuses on general information with a national focus. As such, media with specific thematic focus (music, sport), social networks, search engines and advertisement were excluded.
8. How are the media outlets selected?
The TV stations were selected according to their audience reach nationwide.
Source: Television Viewership Research Institution Data, 2020 yearly
The top 10 print media were selected according to their audience reach nationwide.
Source: CİMER 2020 (yearly)
The top 10 radio stations were selected according to their audience reach nationwide.
Source: RİAK Report for December 2020
News websites were selected according to their audience shares nationwide. However, no data could be obtained about the view counts.
Source: Gemius Audience (2020 Last Quarter Average Data)
9. Why Turkey?
According to the World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters without Borders (RSF), Turkey ranked 99th in 2002, when the index was first published, 151st in 2016, 155th in 2017, 157th in 2018 and 2019, and 154th in 2020. In 2021, it ranks 153rd out of 180 countries.
The government crackdown on critical media has recently been massive, suggesting that the government is trying to control the dissemination of facts and opinion.
Some wiretaps released in the end of 2013 suggested that government officials, as high as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself, were directly involved in the management of TV programs.
There have been many times in the recent history of Turkey, when as many as seven dailies came out with the same headline - as if the headline was provided to them from somewhere above.
Many journalists who were critical of the government were fired from once-mainstream media outlets; owners of critical media have been threatened with tax suits that could bring down a whole company, while owners of the outlets that seem to support the government have fared better and better in their investments in other sectors. The critical media faced the administrative fines imposed by the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) and Press Advertisement Institution (BİK).
As a country that has been developing in many aspects, the freedom of media in Turkey means a lot to not only its citizens but the citizens of the whole world.
10. Does the MOM only exist for Turkey?
No. MOM was developed as a generic methodology that can be universally applied – and potentially will be. Notwithstanding that media concentration trends are observable worldwide, implementation and analysis will first take place in developing countries. MOM has been implemented in around 20 countries over the course of three years. Turkey was among the six countries (Ukraine, Tunisia, Peru, Mongolia and the Philippines) where the project was implemented in 2016. After the 2018 updates, the MOM Turkey 2020 updates were completed between February 2021 - November 2021. All country projects can be found on the global website.
11. What are the limitations of the study?
No economic data: Market concentration based on market share could not be calculated since complete and credible numbers were not publicly available. Only two media outlets shared them on request.
Contradictory data: Print circulation is a highly debated issue in Turkey. The official data provided by distribution companies is questioned by many, with a lot of evidence suggesting that print outlets are distributed for free so that they get a higher amount of advertising. Since the MOM Turkey team could not access “non-controversial” data, it based its research on newspapers on the top 10 newspaper data obtained from CİMER.
“Pool media”: The phenomenon of “pool media” in Turkey is that many companies are rumored to have invested in the acquiring of certain media outlets, to be used for government propaganda, whereas the owner seems to be only one company. The rest of the investors are not public or official.
No reliable data on viewership rates: Reliable access to the average Internet news portal follower data rates for 2020 could not be provided. However, the top ten news portals with the most views in the last quarter of 2020 were provided by Goodworks Communication Consultancy.
12. Who do we target?
The database allows each citizen to get informed on the media system in general; creates a fact base for civil society’s advocacy efforts to further promote public consciousness on media ownership and concentration; is a point of reference for consulting competition authorities or governmental bodies when establishing suitable regulatory measures to safeguard media pluralism.
13. What happens next?
The database is a snapshot of the current situation, contextualized by historical facts. MOM Turkey Project updates will continue to be made regularly by the local partner organization, the bianet/IPS Communication Foundation.
14. Are there similar projects?
The Media Ownership Monitor is mainly inspired by two similar projects. Especially the indicators for a later ranking rely heavily on the EU-funded Media Pluralism Monitor of the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) at the European University Institute (EUI, Florence). Moreover, Media Pedia, an ownership database developed by investigative journalists in Macedonia, served as inspiration for the Media Ownership Monitor. An overview over other similar projects can be found in the table below.
A Spanish NGO that works in the field of media ownership transparency in several European countries.
An NGO which works in the field of press freedom. It implements media concentration projects.
The Media Freedom Navigator of Deutsche Welle provides an overview of different media freedom indices.
A database of television and audiovisual services in Europe.
The Website provides a summary and analysis of the state of the media in Europe and neighbouring countries.
The network provides information of the state of the media in many countries.
The Media Sustainability Index (MSI) provides analyses of the conditions for independent media in 80 countries.
Monitors media ownership and the impact on media pluralism in southeastern Europe and EU member states.
A research that works with authors from 30 countries in the world about media concentration using a common methodology.
A database of international corporations of the world´s biggest media.
Media Development Indicators - A framework for assessing media development.