The holiday season, particularly the summer months, used to be a source of great “excitement,” for many journalists in Turkey, but for reasons other than a well-deserved time for relaxation. After all, these months were also unofficially known as the “press tour season.”
In most cases, these press tours were actually thinly veiled bought and paid for holidays. Journalists in Turkey, for quite some time now, had been using these as an unethical benefit, loosely related to their profession. Hotel reviews, meetings and expos in tropical locations were the lay of the land and a simple puff piece in return was not much to ask, surely (!).
Well the good news is, it seems Turkish media finally seems to be fed up with the blatant freeloading. I certainly was and tackled this issue numerous times at both Daily Sabah and its sister concern Sabah, the Turkish language daily.
For the most recent Reader’s Corner article, focusing on this issue, you can check the “Unethical ‘benefits’ of journalism,” published back on Dec. 5, 2016.
Therefore, as one of the many voices in the profession that has, for years, out-cried this practice, devoid of journalistic ethics and principles, I am quite happy to see articles, focusing on the issue, making headlines in Turkish media.
I believe all the accusations, revelations and defenses would ultimately benefit local media, by dragging the subject to daylight and leaving it ultimately behind.
As I have already said, summer months used to top the list for these freeloading “journalists,” and I hope that these articles, condemning the practice will dissuade some of them and help protect the integrity of journalism. Let this also be a reminder for our colleagues as well.