New Media's Influence on Societies: The Conflict Between Government And Public in Turkey
The media in Turkey has long been under the surveillance of government economically and politically. Turkish mass media since its foundation in the late 19th century has aimed to gain its role as the fourth estate in the Turkish political scene. During the period between 1980 and 2000 Turkish media grew more and more liberal and was able to express discontent publicly exercising its checks and balances function. After 2000 under the governance of Justice and Development Party (AKP) the media began to be the subject of widespread pressures. Digital media as a developing platform in Turkey for expressing rights and freedoms got its share by the government's restrictions as well. Since the uncontrollability of the new media posed another threat for the stability of governments attempts on restricting it became a regular practice in many parts of the world. This study claims that the restrictions imposed on new media violate both freedom of expression and free speech and this leads to a weakening of democracy. The banning of social networking sites such as YouTube Google Sites and others raises questions about the functionality of democracy since these platforms provide a venue that is widely used around the world to express alternative and dissenting views. Blocking access to websites also represents a serious infringement on freedom of speech and does not befit a democratic society.