Efforts to stick with the facts

As the historian Yuval Noah Harari said; "It is the responsibility of all of us to invest time and effort in uncovering our biases and in verifying our sources of information".

But we live in such a complex world that we can't investigate everything for ourselves.

That is why we need to seek out news channels, internet sites and newspapers that will open up new horizons and do not allow lies to distort the facts.

Ahval has become a voice of democracy and pluralism, with a publication policy that has allowed us to hold onto the truth at a time when the line between reality and fiction has become more faint.

It was inevitable that the internet would change the media, but as long as there are real journalists, it is possible to create a world where the powers that be cannot hold the truth hostage. Ahval has been trying to establish this world from day one.

Because as long as reporters value finding the truth and the public's right to know it, we can prevent lies from taking the place of facts, the trivialisation of the truth and the big fictions whispered into our ears.  

Hannah Arendt wrote that a prerequisite for a free society is to hold onto the power of the truth. "Under normal circumstances the liar is defeated by reality, for which there is no substitute; no matter how large the tissue of falsehood that an experienced liar has to offer, it will never be large enough, even if he enlists the help of computers, to cover the immensity of factuality," she said.

The tyrants who want to seize power lie in order to break the connections between truth and reality. It is essential for them to eliminate anyone who bears witnesses to the truth - and if they cannot be eliminated, then to destroy their credibility.

In the history of humanity, "reality" has never been a dominant value. Religions, ideologies, and national mythologies have mobilised the masses and relied on people’s emotions, not their minds.

But people have grasped the importance of the truth. The 20th century was a time when massive lies were told and, as a result, millions of people lost their lives.

In this world of lies, people who did not question and investigate came face-to-face with the truth through hunger, destruction, and death.

Today, we are living in a much more dangerous world in which bigger lies are being told, and due to technology, these lies are spread more rapidly.

It has never been easier to get to the truth, but the line that separates reality and fiction has never been so ambiguous.

American writer Alvin Toffler described the future in his book "The Third Wave" and pointed to the power of the internet to amplify small and insignificant lies. Unfortunately, almost one-third of the world's population lives under authoritarian governments as a result of two-dimensional election propaganda.

Authoritarian governments, despots, dictators, and leaders in the pursuit of unchecked power do not like witnesses to the truth. For that reason, journalists in pursuit of the truth are the biggest enemy.

When news of the Watergate scandal broke, then-U.S. President Richard Nixon told his security advisor Henry Kissinger: "Never forget, the press is the enemy, the press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy, the professors are the enemy, the professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard 100 times."

Today, Turkey has more journalists in prison than any other and 90 percent of the media is in the hands of the administration. Yet, what makes us a society is our universal truths.

One does not need to be an oracle to see that a single man trying to control the country with a big stick in the age of IT and biotechnology is going to end in disappointment. Democracy, freedom, creativity, innovation, law, justice, and pluralism are all interdependent. When one collapses, the rest follow. If one gets stronger, they all get stronger.

But the "truth" is above them all. In societies where truth is denied and perception is presented as real, collapse often happens more rapidly than predicted. We must accept reality and redefine our place amongst these facts in order to comprehend the future.  Only then can we understand what we can do better and make a contribution to the world of the 21st century.

Ahval is firmly set in the facts and uses many and varied sources to present its audience with investigative pieces and fact-checked news. It is important to note that Ahval has got through a year of overcoming bans and negative propaganda and has opened doors for writers from all points of view who know that a democracy has many voices. Ahval has also made it through its first year by presenting news that is not found in mainstream media and provides well-researched analyses and interviews, attracting more readers with each passing day.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Ahval.