73.5 percent of journalists in Turkey can't make ends meet, survey reveals

Some 73.5 percent of journalists in Turkey cannot live on the income they earn from their profession, according to a recent survey released on January 10 Working Journalists' Day. Separately, the Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS) said that the unemployment in the media sector has exceeded 35 percent and that the unionization rate in the sector is a mere 8.4 percent.

Duvar English

To mark January 10 Working Journalists' Day, the Freedom of the Press and Media Research Association (BAMAD) released the results of a survey revealing the situation of journalists in Turkey,

The survey presents data on professional career expectations, professional reading habits, economic conditions, effects of the political institution on the profession, occupational organizations, and professional development opportunities of media workers.

Some 73.5 percent of the journalists who participated in the survey said that they could not live on the income they earned from their profession. On the other hand, the rate of those who stated that they could make a living with the income they earned from their job was 26.5 percent. In addition, 69.9 percent of the participants said they are considering changing their profession.

Some 27.7 percent of the journalists who participated in the survey stated that they were hopeful about the profession's future, 9.6 percent were optimistic, 15.7 percent were indecisive, 24.1 percent were pessimistic, and 22.9 percent were highly pessimistic.

While 60.2 percent of media workers stated that they sometimes encounter fear of being unemployed, 25.3 percent said they often, and 14.5 percent never faced fear.

Furthermore, those who think they will quit the profession were 53 percent of the participants. As for the motivations for these two questions, 47 percent of the participants stated that they gave particular importance to sectoral reasons, 22.9 percent to economic, 20.5 percent to political, and 9.6 percent to personal causes.

35 percent unemployment in media sector

The Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS) also released a statement on January 10 Journalists' Day, saying that the unemployment in the media sector has exceeded 35 percent and that 34 journalists are currently imprisoned.

“Again, we are on the "January 10 Working Journalists' Day" with many problems. Unemployment in the media sector has exceeded 35 percent. We are deprived of a fair wage and humane working conditions. We are censored or forced to self-censorship because of our news. The obstacles to accessing the official press cards continue. Thirty-four of our colleagues are kept in prisons,” the TGS said.

“The vital media organizations are punished through RTÜK and BİK. In consequence of all this, January 10 should be estimated as a day of struggle in our sector, where insecure work without union is around 90 percent," referring to Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) and Public Advertising Agency (BİK).

The also statement stated that the unionization rate in the sector was 8.4%, which is one of the business lines with the lowest unionization rate.

It said that anti-union inhibitions and objections of employers played a significant role in this low rate.

The statement stated that according to the Social Security Institution data in December 2020, the total number of journalists working in the line of work consisted of only 23,306 journalists.

On January 10 1961, after Law No. 212, which guaranteed the rights of journalists, was published in the Official Gazette, the employers, who were the owners of the newspaper, objected to the law by deciding not to print a newspaper for three days.

Under the leadership of the Istanbul Journalists' Union, journalists published a newspaper called "Basın Gazetesi" against this action of the bosses. Thanks to the determined stance of journalists, bosses had to withdraw objections to Law No. 212. This struggle and achievement of the journalists began to be celebrated as '10 January Working Journalists' Feast Day' after that day. After the military intervention in 1971, its name was changed to '10 January, Working Journalists' Day, due to the deprivation of some rights.