On the report “Violence in and through the media”, (Document 13509), presented by Sir Roger Gale - 24.06.2014 - Gülsün Bilgehan, Ayşe Gülsün Bilgehan, CHP Ankara Milletvekili

On the report “Violence in and through the media”, (Document 13509), presented by Sir Roger Gale - 24.06.2014

2014 Ordinary Session-Tuesday 24 June:

Twenty-second sitting

On the report  “Violence in and through the media”, (Document 13509), presented by Sir Roger Gale

Ms BİLGEHAN (Turkey)* – I thank Sir Roger for his detailed report. It is perhaps a little technical, but it is also important and interesting.

The debate on violence in the media has been on the agenda of the Council of Europe for some time. We know that, apart from recommendations and resolutions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the guidelines of the Committee of Ministers, the European Court of Human Rights has produced a wealth of case law on the subject. As we read in the report, the perception of violence varies according to the individual and the society, but it is generally admitted that freedom of expression and information, as guaranteed in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, would prohibit child pornography and hate speech. We can therefore call that a red line – at the outset, we should avoid confusion between the desire to protect children against violence portrayed in the media and attempts at censorship. As adduced by the rapporteur, we should not use such arguments in order to stifle opposition by restricting press freedom.

The role of the media is growing in the day-to-day lives of our society. At the same time, with the development of social media and the Internet, negative violent behaviour is leaving its mark on our societies. According to Sir Roger’s report, it is acknowledged but not yet 100% proven that violence portrayed through the media has an effect on the behavioural conduct of individuals. In the same way, violent programmes can lead to the emergence of acts of violence in real life. For example, as referred to in the report, the catharsis model, which is relatively new, suggests that violence in the media shapes violent conduct but does not necessarily trigger it. In fact, violent behaviour is the result of a combination of factors, including genetic factors, family influence and the experience of violence. There are environmental factors such as stress, although stress should not serve as a pretext for violence.

We should take into account the changing media landscape. Clearly, governments must use financial and other sanctions to reduce the negative effects of programmes. There are various types of control machinery. I believe the Pan European Game Information system is the best – fortunately, there is little recourse to the filtering system used in Turkey.

We support the excellent report and the amendments tabled by Ms Blondin, which will only add to it.

About Gülsün Bilgehan

Born in Ankara on 25th of February 1957, Gülsün Bilgehan is the granddaughter of İsmet İnönü, the 2nd President of Turkey who was among the founders of the Republic.

A graduate of Department of International Relations of Paris Institute of Political Studies, she was elected as the Member of Parliament for Ankara from Republican People’s Party, in 2002.

Meanwhile, she served in Council of Europe of which Turkey is a founding member and as the Chairperson of Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

She received “Woman Writer of the Year Award” by United Women's Organizations of İstanbul and “Abdi İpekçi Award” for the two volume books titled “Mevhibe” depicting Turkish War of Independence and the establishment of Turkish Republic from the point of view of her grandmother Mevhibe İnönü.

She was awarded the “Pro Merito” medal of PACE and “Legion D’Honneur” of  France.

She was reelected as the Member of Parliament for Ankara from Republican People’s Party in 2011 and assigned the Chairperson of Socialist Women Working Group at PACE.

In January 2015, she was reelected as the Chairperson of Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination and held the title for one more term.  She was assigned the Chairperson of Sub-Committee on Media and Information Society of PACE in March 2016 and re-elected for a second term in January 2017. 

She remains the member of Turkish Delegation of PACE.

On 7th of June and 1st of November 2015 general elections, Bilgehan was reelected as the Member of Parliament for Ankara from Republican People’s Party. She was nominated the candidate for the Speaker of Turkish Grand National Assembly by unanimously of the members of parliament of Republican People’s Party.  

Married with three children, Bilgehan speaks advanced level of French and English.