Today Voice of America released a new documentary titled, “Turkey: Breaking the Silence.” The film explores the erosion of press freedom in the two decades under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rule. Under Erdoğan’s administration, Turkey became a top jailer of journalists in which independent media outlets are targets and government censorship is on the rise.
VOA Executive Producer Beth Mendelson worked in Washington, D.C., directing a team on the ground in Turkey that reported from Istanbul and the countryside, profiling citizens, journalists, and activists whose stories help explain the forces driving media repression. The film reveals how deep divisions in Turkish society and politics, combined with autocratic power, have evolved to quash critical news coverage and stifle free speech.
“Turkey’s story is a lesson in the fragility of democracy,” says Acting VOA Director Yolanda Lopez. “This case study demonstrates the importance and power of a free and independent media in preserving democratic freedoms around the world – a warning for nations now struggling with authoritarianism.”
“Turkey: Breaking the Silence” can be viewed here. The film and three accompanying profiles initially will be translated into seven Central and South Asia languages, with additional languages expected in the near future.