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The University of Liverpool is one of the top UK universities, member of the prestigious Russell Group of 24 leading UK universities.

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The Worlds of Journalism Study is a cross-national collaborative project assessing the state of journalism in the world through representative surveys with journalists.

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UNESCO is the lead UN Agency for promoting freedom of expression and safety of journalists as part of its mandate to “promote the free flow of ideas by word and image”.

Özlem Erkmen


independent journalism alternative media gender-based safety issues post-colonialism intersectionality

Journalism in Turkey has become increasingly dangerous during the past two decades due to the country's authoritarian turn. The government has transformed legacy media into propaganda tools, and independent institutions have faced various difficulties, including legal sanctions and the closure of dissident media organizations. Especially after the attempted coup in 2016, the government increased its pressure and further intensified its legal sanctions on independent journalists. As a result, many have moved to smaller-scale digital media, Turkish branches of foreign media, or started their own 'bossless' news initiatives through social media. However, these journalists who expose government corruption or criticize flawed policies face significant challenges. They are not only deterred by false charges such as disclosing state secrets or insulting the President but also subjected to physical and digital attacks by street mobs and troll armies, which are extensions of the government. Therefore, researching journalism practice in Turkey has become a security issue in itself.

Definition of journalists' safety

Journalist safety is a broad concept that encompasses all kinds of threats and obstacles journalists encounter while carrying out their profession. Of course, first and foremost, the security issues of journalism performed in conflict zones come to mind. However, in reality, it also includes legal, economic, digital, physical and psychological attacks from both official and unofficial channels in any environment. This includes age, gender, race-based discrimination and harassment in the field or newsrooms, and the difficulties created by precarious working conditions.

Future plans for research on journalists' safety

My previous work on journalists' safety mainly focused on the security problems of women journalists working in alternative media and demonstrated the need for a broader post-colonial perspective on journalists' safety. I am very interested in conducting large-scale comparative studies, as part of a multi-nation research collective. I have a research interest in social movements and especially the ecology movement. Previously, I researched environmental news production in legacy and non-legacy media. I am also interested in examining ecological journalists' safety issues at the intersection of conflicting interests of people, governments, and large corporations. The upcoming elections have deepened the polarization in Turkey. Journalists are publicly targeted and threatened through social media. In this respect, digital security could be another potential area of research with the current data it offers.
Research focuses:
Physical, Psychological, Digital, Financial, Legal
Methods used in research:
Interviews, Qualitative content analysis, Quantitative content analysis, Ethnography
Countries of research focus:

Areas interested in collaborating with NGOs

Safety training; Journalists Union of Turkey, Coalition for Women in Journalism

Areas interested in collaborating with other researchers

multi-nation comparative studies, gender-based safety issues, digital safety of journalists, digital safety of women journalists, safety of ecology journalists
Özlem Erkmen

Özlem Erkmen