Invitation: “Journalism, Nationalism and Identity”

M. Ozan Aşık 10 March

Abstract. Ozan Aşık’s study examines how television journalists of the Turkish mainstream news media represent Kurdish and Arab identities –Turkey’s two significant ‘national others’. He conducted ethnographic fieldwork in the newsrooms of two television channels – what he calls ‘Secularbiz’ (widely recognised as a major secular channel which sometimes opposes the AKP government) and ‘Islamicbiz’ (widely recognised as Islamic and as a hard-line AKP supporter).  The findings demonstrate that the Secularbiz journalists tend to represent Kurds as ‘our fellows’, while the Islamicbiz journalists tend to represent Arabs as ‘our Muslim brothers’.  By analysing how ideology, the power dynamics of the newsroom, and the newsroom as a moral community affect the ways that journalists represent Kurdish and Arab identities, he seeks to shed fresh light on the factors that shape news production, and the pressures that impinge on news practitioners, in the highly polarised social and political climate of contemporary Turkey.

Short Biography. Ozan Aşık graduated with a BSc degree in Sociology from Ege University. He read for a MSc in Middle East Studies at Middle East Technical University in Turkey. For his Master’s thesis study on the Egyptian religious educational system, he conducted fieldwork in Cairo for three months in 2005. His Master’s thesis entitled “A Sociological Analysis of Religious Educational Institutions, Policies and Discourses in Egypt” was awarded with the 2007 Best Thesis Prize in Social Sciences by the university. He started his PhD in Sociology at the University of Cambridge in 2010, and is expecting to submit his dissertation in March 2015. His PhD study is on ‘The Representation of Kurdish and Arab Identities in the Production of Television News in Turkey’. His current research interests include media sociology, anthropology of news, cultural sociology, journalism, media ethics, television broadcasting, Islam, nationalism and the Middle East.

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