April 14th, 2015, Adam’s Mark Hotel, Buffalo, NY.
Peace Islands Institute Upstate NY, Buffalo Chapter (PII) hosted media representatives from Buffalo area at Media Appreciation Luncheon at Adam’s Mark hotel. The event was well-attended by major media institutions such as WNED-TV, WGRZ-TV, WKBW-TV, WIVB-TV, Buffalo News as well as New Jersey-based Ebru TV and communication professors from University at Buffalo and Canisius College. Turkish Cultural Center Buffalo (TCCB) co-sponsored the event.
Because of his contributions to the media through responsible and ethical broadcasting, PII’s 2015 Media Excellence Award has been given to Mr. Jim Toellner, General Manager and President of WGRZ-TV. Mr. Toellner expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the award and underlined the importance of team work and contributions of other team members in the accomplishments of WGRZ-TV.
The event also featured a panel discussion titled “Media Ethics: Free and Responsible Media.” The panel was moderated by Bulent Ozdemir, the Executive Director of Peace Islands Institute and the TCC’s Upstate NY. The panelists included Mr. Donald Boswell President of WNED-TV, Dr. Alp Aslandogan, President of Alliance for Shared Values, NY and Dr. Andrew Sachs Professor at the University at Buffalo Department of Communication.
Dr. Andrew Sachs underlined the importance of resistance against government oppression on media and the need for powerful coalitions to stand against the pressures on media. Dr. Boswell emphasized the problems of “journalism in hurry” and the consequences of the urge to be the first to provide the information. He argued that public broadcasting has the advantage of prioritizing the quality of the stories rather than the timing partly thanks to the way it was funded and the principles followed in those institutions.
Dr. Aslandogan’s speech focused on the recent issues around media pressure in Turkey. Providing a few examples from journalists, who have been detained and/or put in jail just because of an opinion piece and tweets against the government, he questioned the reasons behind such a remarkable change the country has faced in the last couple years. Comparing the situation with the conditions in the U.S., Dr. Aslandogan asked “Would a politician or governor in the U.S. who oppressed the media institutions get away with this?” Dr. Aslandogan stated that the U.S. and Turkey have the same key institutions and laws like in any democratic country such as the Constitution, Constitutional Court, judiciary, and a parliament. He argued that what is lacking in Turkey is a democratic culture and mindset that would help all of the laws and institutions to work properly.