Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Just setting the record straight

I got another accusation as pursuing the interests of the Dogan group, which owns Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review, so I am going to address the issue once and for all:

There are two issues here: First, I am accused of being unethical. Second, Dogan newspapers, and specifically Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review, are being accused of publishing libel. Let me address each in turn.

Starting with myself, I could spend pages and pages trying to convince that the critiques' economic argument is wrong, but they are not really presenting an economic argument: Just accusing me of pursuing Dogan's agenda and giving a low rating to my articles. So, I'll resort to Logic 101 (rather than Econ.101) instead: Maybe, the critiques are not aware, but I am definitely not the lone ranger out there: I am obviously in the minority, but there are quite a bit sensible economists (who I will not name, in fear that they will get their share of hate-mails because of me) who share many of my views on the Turkish economy. So I am wondering if they have a hidden agenda as well...

The critiques also choose to ignore the instances where I have applauded the government's economic policy, as in my short evaluation of the early macro reforms or the tax cuts. And I will continue to do so, whenever they implement sound policy. For example, my promise to be the first one to celebrate if there is an IMF deal stands:)...

As for the claim that I am writing in the international medial to scare the investors away: I did not seek out Forbes; as the editors there can confirm, they found me through my Hurriyet articles and blog and asked me if I would like to write for them. The same goes for RGE.

As for Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review, the paper prides itself in its objectivity. For example, if the paper were so anti-government, would it let Mustafa Akyol publish his latest piece? I have never met the guy, and I have no idea if he is close to the government or not, but he obviously supports many of the government's policies. I do not share many of his views, but I am extremely proud that he is writing for the paper in the interest of freedom of speech and presenting a balanced view.

Note that I am not making the very strong claim that all the Dogan papers are 100% objective all the time. I am not in a position to make such a claim. All I am saying is that Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review is probably the most objective daily in a country where the media is extremely polarized. And there is a reason for that: The very bearable lightness of being tiny & obscure.

But maybe, I should consider myself lucky. Given the usual methods of government supporters, at least I am not being accused of not having done my military service. It is tragicomic that those who accuse of libel resort it at every opportunity....

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