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22 June

A Portrait of the Indictment as Judicial Porn

You can read the full text of Ahmet Altan’s defence statement here.

Your Honour,This sorry excuse for an indictment lacking in not only intelligence but also a respect for law is too feeble to draw the immense weight of the aggravated life sentence it requests and does not deserve a serious defence.

An Istanbul court ordered on June 23 to remand in custody six suspects including journalists Nazlı Ilıcak and Mehmet Altan and novelist Ahmat Altan, who were put on trial for alleged links to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have been behind the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt
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The European People’s Party in the EP has penned a letter to act in solidarity with Şahin Alpay, who has been in prison for 11 years. The other four groups had written to Kadri Gürsel, Nazlı Ilıcak, Musa Kart and Ahmet Şık in the past.

First Turkish journalists go on trial over alleged coup support

Brothers Ahmet and Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak accused of using ‘subliminal messaging’ to overthrow government

The first trial of journalists accused of taking part in or supporting last year’s coup attempt in Turkey opened on Monday in a crucial test for freedom of expression in the country.

 

Reporting on a new age of digital astroturfing

Another election, another round of reports that social media bots artificially boosted a candidate, and another case study underscoring the challenges of covering a new age of digital astroturfing.

For the UK general election, one notable attempt was the Telegraph’s article about a series of bots flooding Twitter with pro-Corbyn and anti-May messages. The story’s basic facts were vaguely right: There were a considerable number of high-frequency tweeters pushing pro-Corbyn messages in the final weeks before Election Day. But the piece fell short of providing hard proof of scale or intention.

The possibility of robots inflating the size of one candidate’s apparent support — let alone spreading misinformation — is worth reporting. But proper analyses of these networks demand skills and thinking that are totally new to social scientists, let alone journalists.

“Only Hungary has a bigger gap…” The Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report 2017, out this week, touches on all kinds of digital news trends — see here for Nieman Lab’s general roundup and here for two of the report’s authors’ takes on how social media may actually diversify people’s media diets. There’s also more on fake news in the report: “Definitions of ‘fake news’ are fraught with difficulty and respondents frequently mix up three categories: (1) news that is ‘invented’ to make money or discredit others; (2) news that has a basis in fact, but is ‘spun’ to suit a particular agenda; and (3) news that people don’t feel comfortable about or don’t agree with,” the authors write. “In our analysis very few people can accurately recall having seen items in category 1, except in the United States.”

Fox News’ Motto Is No Longer ‘Fair and Balanced,’ Plus More Internet Scandals of the Week

From Fox News’ new slogan to President Trump’s “witch hunt” tweet, here’s everything the internet was talking about last week.

Want a “news-style soft article”? That’ll be $15. Or splurge and discredit a journalist for $55,000

The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundupoffers the highlights of what you might have missed.

“新闻软文,” or “News-style soft article.” Want to discredit a journalist? That’ll be $55,000. 100,000 real people’s signatures on a Change.org petition? $6,000. And those Chinese “soft articles” can be gotten for as little as USD $15. The folks at security software company Trend Microstudied Chinese, Russian, Arabic/Middle Eastern, and English marketplaces and found that “everything from social media promotions, creation of fake comments, and even online vote manipulation [is] sold at very reasonable prices. Surprisingly, we found that fake news campaigns aren’t always the handiwork of autonomous bots, but can also be carried out by real people via large, crowdsourcing programs.”

The organisation is taking lessons from the redesign of two of its pop-up verticals and applying them to the wider NBC News brands

Audience trust in social media as a news source is falling, Reuters survey finds

Tomorrow’s News 2017 shows that news consumers are becoming more savvy to the spread of misinformation online

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