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The 21st episode of IPI’s podcast series IPI Freedom Dialogues: Turkey is out now!

In the 21st episode of the IPI Freedom Dialogues podcast, journalist Cansu Çamlıbel and her guest Ömer Madra, a climate activist and one of the founders of Açık Radio (Open Radio), discussed the overall responsibility of the media in the climate crisis and the problematic way that the topic has been covered and presented in the Turkish media.

Previous episodes of IPI’s Freedom Dialogues: Turkey podcasts are available here.

Madra, a prominent radio journalist and academic who has carried out various studies on international law and migrant workers, previously worked as an editor and a columnist at various newspapers and magazines such as Milliyet, Güneş, Gergedan, and Start. Madra, who considers himself a climate activist,has broadcast his radio program at Açık Radio since 1995 with a main objective to increase awareness on climate change.

In this episode, host Çamlıbel underlined some common mistakes that journalists make when reporting on the climate crisis, regardless of their political ideology. She stated that certain mistakes were common in Turkish media and most of the time news outlets were not even aware of it.

She noted that the climate crisis has been a growing topic, especially after the most recent floods and wildfires during the summer in Turkey, and emphasized that these incidents had tested Turkish media’s competence in reporting on the issue.

Madra said that the media failed this test and unwittingly misled the public. He also noted that issues that issues such as global warming and the collapse of living ecosystems did not attract actually people’s attention. He said that while fossil fuel companies have a great responsibility in the climate crisis, the media does as well, in terms of providing the public with accurate information. “The news reported on this subject hasbeen only based on deceptions,” Madra said.In his view, the media has not fulfilled its responsibility.

“We, as the media, need to do our part to prevent this situation and continue activism,” Madra argued, stating that in his view the media is only a part of this problem and it will continue unless a radical effort is made to change the capitalist system.

Topics covered in the podcast include:

  • How media in Turkey cover the climate crisis, and common mistakes in climate reporting
  • Common tendencies of the world media and Turkish media when covering the climate crisis
  • The hypocrisy of large companies in the climate crisis: The example of Jeff Bezos and Amazon
  • Greta Thunberg’s impact on the media coverage of the climate crisis

Highlights from the episode (Ömer Madra):

“In an interview with Noam Chomsky,he said that Turkey is the only country where a significant segment of the intellectual class does not only raise their voices for liberties and freedom of expression, but actually does something about it.”

“The number one culprit [of indifference to the climate crisis] must be the fossil fuel companies, but there is the media that we can say is in partnership with it…Marketing [strategies] and the media have a serious tendency to not to see us, and not connect the dots, as Greta Thunberg has often said.”

“I think the media doesthis on purpose [not covering the climate crisis]. Not mentioning about this existential crisis is a form of denial.”

“A psychological effort is required to break this silence in the media.”

“Radio programmer Ümit Şahin once said that Açık Radio is the most important pioneering media organization in this field and has been keeping the climate crisis on the agenda for at least 20 years, and in this sense, they been following an editorial policy that encourages both climate activism and the media reporting in Turkey.’”