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In Turkey, ruling AKP on trial in high court, media

Newspapers and TV have entered a bitter fray between the opposition and the AKP government, accused of undermining the country's secularist ideals.

Bias: Media critics say newspapers, such as these in Istanbul, are reinforcing opinions rather than informing the public.

Yigal Schleifer

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If the media is supposed to serve as a mirror for the society it covers, then the Turkish press may actually be doing too good a job.

Turkey's highest court takes up a case today against the ruling AK Party (AKP) that has been driving a wedge between secularists and the government, which is rooted in political Islam.

That division is being fiercely reflected in the mass media, where pro-government newspapers and television stations are facing off against pro-secularist media outlets, each being accused of slanting the news in a way that seems to benefit their position. Lost in all of this, critics and some journalists say, is the truth provided by a truly independent media.

"The media has become a battleground," says Bulent Aliriza, director or the Turkey project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington.

"Every newspaper is taking sides, through its columnists and now, increasingly, through its news stories. It's becoming harder to say that there is an independent media with an objective view."

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