What is the reason for the Gülen Movement's interest in the media?
Fethullah Gülen was the first preacher in Turkey to have his lectures made available on audio and video cassettes to the general public in Turkey.
He encourages the use of mass media to inform people about matters of individual and collective concern.
On the qualities of the new type of people who would strive to extend altruistic services to all humanity, Gülen says: ‘To stay in touch and communicate with people’s minds, hearts, and feelings, these new men and women will use the mass media and try to establish a new power balance of justice, love, respect, and equality among people.’
In terms of electronic communications and the internet, the Movement was the first Turkish social actor to make itself available online and free to the masses. Since then, through its skills, the autonomy of its language, and the complexity of the strategies that characterize its work, the Gülen Movement has been able to influence the debate about the ways in which reality is constructed by the Turkish media. By filtering imposed messages, activating everyday communicative networks, exercising choice among the various media available, and professionally interacting with the media system, Movement participants have themselves become a new medium in the construction of public discourse.
The media outlets all report on educational and cultural activities as well as news and the perspectives of Movement participants. Thus they are one of the routes by which ideas and good practice diffuse throughout the Movement.
These media outlets have proved to be very effective during times when the values, services, and institutions of the Movement were misreported by others. They aim to be visible to the decision-making apparatuses which govern the major media networks and define the political agenda, so that the controversial issues and debates dividing society should not be muffled behind a facade of formal neutrality and self-referentiality.
In addition, they respect and encourage the public discourse which is created in everyday networks by citizens.