20 May 2009
THE LINKAGE BETWEEN MEDIA AND THE FOREIGN POLICY MAKING PROCESS
The last MURCIR panel of the 2008-2009 academic year was organized on “The Linkage between Media and Foreign Policy Making Process”. The panel, moderated by Assoc. Prof. Gülden Ayman from the Department of Political Science and International Relations, took place on May 20, 2009 at Marmara University, Mustafa Necati Conference Hall. The speakers were Assist. Prof. İbrahim Mazlum from the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Ömer Madra, the Chief Editor of Açık Radyo, and Bora Bayraktar, the International News Editor of ATV channel.
İbrahim Mazlum began his presentation by analyzing the literature on the media-foreign policy linkage. He argued that concepts of “CNN Effect” and “Manufacturing Consent” are the two important concepts in revealing the linkage between media and foreign policy making processes. He said that especially after 1990s, international news media gained a prominent power in driving states and international organizations to take action against vast humanitarian disasters. He added that the linkage between media and foreign policy may not be always positive and benign as said; but may also be directed to manufacture consent of the public in accepting certain policy options which are in line with the interests of political and economic elites of a society. He stated that the arguments and policies posed by Bush Administration before and during the intervention in Iraq in 2003 can be given as examples of efforts of the states in manufacturing international and national consent for certain policy actions. Lastly, Mazlum stressed upon the “media imperialism” by giving examples from the rate of information flow between the developed North and underdeveloped South.
The second speaker of the panel was Bora Bayraktar from ATV. Bayraktar gave different examples from the Turkish foreign policy and world politics to present his understanding on the linkage between media and foreign policy. First, he shared with the audience his thoughts about media’s role in recent developments on the bilateral relations between Turkey and Armenia by arguing that recently, a part of Turkish media played a supportive role in efforts to improve the relations between the two countries, while others maintained their traditional critical stance on the issue. His second example was on the recent developments on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Supported by photographs, he elaborated how journalists perceived the situation in this region and how they reflected their views on the international media from their own perspectives. Lastly, Bayraktar talked on “embedded journalism” and the relations between them and states. He shared with the audience his own experiences on the subject during one of his recent trips to Afghanistan.
Ömer Madra from Açık Radyo was the last speaker of the panel. He, in great detail, summarized one of the latest publications on the issue of climate change and his views about the role of media that it should play in promoting the measures against the deteriorating situation in climate change. He argued that because of the local drought conditions in recent years, the Turkish media became sensitive to the issues of water scarcity and climate change, but then this sensitivity has been declined when the most of the regions in the country had wet years of 2008 and 2009. He lastly argued that the media should be norm-putting in handling the issue in Turkey and all over the world.