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Appearance of Health News on the Newspapers in Turkey

Başak Şişman*

Abant Ä°zzet Baysal University, Istanbul, Turkey

*Corresponding Author:
Başak Şişman
Communication Faculty
Dr. Abant Ä°zzet Baysal University
Istanbul, Turkey
Tel: +90 374 254 10 00
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: November 23, 2015; Accepted date: January 12, 2016; Published date: January 31, 2016

Citation: Şişman B. Appearance of Health News on the Newspapers in Turkey. Global Media Journal. 2016, S1:4.

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Health reporting; Consumption ideology; Commodification; Advertising industry


The notions of health reporting, health communication are among the subjects frequently heard and debated in our country. Health communication, which can be defined as the form or way of communication of people and groups involved in healthcare field with the other related targets and groups [1], appears as a new area recently discussed in Turkey. Health-themed informative messages in the media are also within the fields of interest of health communication. Rapid urbanization, waste, air pollution, noise, chronical diseases, nutrition problems, communicable diseases have brought many health problems threatening the community health. Encountering a new problem with each passing day, health sector has to find ways to provide high-quality and cheap health services in order to solve them. Many problems such as unproductivity, inadequacy of equipment and materials, inability to develop man power, the maintenance and repair service problems , failure of healthcare organizations to have building and personnel to serve threaten public health when basic needs cannot be provided. Status and perspective of the media organizations are important at this point. Ultimate duty of mass media is to provide objective, accurate information flow to people pursuant to ethical principles. However, post industrial development brought forth urbanization, change and transformation in social life; and a new way of life, a new culture model described as mass culture, shaped by the capitalist system emerged. “Mass industry culture” notion of Adorno and Horkheimer is an indicator of the capitalist process, in which everything is measured by commodity value. Like most of the other industries, news is turned into spare time activities, and the function of commercialization mechanism is legitimated. The present study aims to evaluate health reporting, mass culture and news in line with the understanding of news and reporting shaped within the framework of dominant ideology. Health news selected from five representative newspapers published in Turkey between 15 December 2013-15 January 2014 will be examined by form and content analysis according to the determined topics.

Reporting Changing in Cultural, Political and Economic Structure Axis and Health News

News means “the events which are not frequently repeated or which occur for the first time, create reactions in the society and remind of positivities or negativities concerning large masses, and involve the values of timeliness, newness, suddenness, closeness, importance, conclusion and appealing people” [2]. As it can be understood from the definition, news is an event; however, every event cannot be news. For any event to be news, it should have the features such as timeliness, newness, importance, interestingness mentioned above and accepted as the values of news. According to Arthur Miller, good news is the things which are spoken on, debated over (What is News, 2013:4). New York Sun Newspaper author, Charles A. Duna, defines news as everything which concerns most of a society, which is not raised before (Beginning Reporting,, 20.10.2014). Today, the most important power setting the agenda is media. Media focuses the interest on certain subjects. According to Cohen, “press is very successful in telling people what to think” [3]. Individuals depend on the media in order to understand what is going on in the world. Media tells us how much we will think on which subject and how much information we should have. Media re-presents us the social structure around us; however, it reflects only part of the truth (our thoughts, opinions about our surrounding are affected by cultural, economic, socio-political structure [4]. Inevitably, our interest is diverted to certain areas. And this makes the mass media more powerful. Why do some events appear on different pages or not published on certain publications while they are given above the fold or in the subheading on some newspapers? Some events attract more attention while some others are ignored or not emphasized; in other words, they are not intended to think over or work through. It is learnt from media which subject will be attached how much importance as well as having information about the public and other subjects [5]. In this context, individuals are informed to the extent regarded by the media, more precisely, in accordance with the rate of informing them. Mass media determines what the majority will think about what with the agenda it establishes. Continuous control provided by the information flow is important for the legitimization of the dominant ideology. Hegemony over the individuals is provided with the control established on the communication network [6]. Newsworthiness understanding, in this sense, is provided within the framework of ideological and professional criteria which ensure that elite persons, organizations or nations are given wider publicity in the media and result in the recognition and legitimization of the rulers at this point [7]. Defining the news as conveying an event to the masses and emphasizing its feature of being an element which feeds the subconscious most; Girgin draws the attention to the structure of power in the formation of the news discourse. News discourse “is generally the tool of molding, directing public opinion which the powers in the countries desire to dominate or dominate primarily.” Media message structures can be classified as news and other types of messages. News is the messages which should be mostly information-loaded. However, deceptive fields can be created using some directing techniques in the news selection and presentation. Although some news is unreal, its persuasiveness can be strengthened by the forms of presentation and the arrangement techniques. The images imbedded in subconscious, subliminal messages make the individual unresponsive and passive [8]. In our fragmented society, news having totality function is the discourse framed with real and private relation. News is also the door of people opening to the public world outside their private field as indispensable ideological apparatus of the modern western societies [9]. Taking news as a produced product marketed to the consumer by newspaper industry, Çağlar emphasizes that the purpose of news production is not the profit motive, and this is what differentiates news from other industrial products. It should provide accurate information flow to the people as its ultimate function and also bear educational and entertaining features. Social responsibility is important at this point. Changes and transformations, the monopolization in the media after 1980 caused profit generation in reporting to be perceived as the main objective. In the past, the owners of the publishing organizations around Cağaloğlu, which was called Babıali Ramp, were the persons of journalist origin from father to son, who knew and had been engaged in this job for long years. Later, however, the persons who are reputed as businessmen and do not know journalism have started to dominate the media world. Accurate, objective journalism has been gradually leaving its place to sensational, visual journalism which prioritizes profit. With the increase in the number of businessmen and bosses adopting profit generation tradition, an understanding of “journalism which boosts promotion and visual materials for the sake of circulation and increases tabloid journalism to make society not to think about the details” have begun to dominate the news [10].

According to liberal pluralistic theory, society is a pluralist totality consisting of different interest groups. Within this theoretical framework, each group in the society will be able to equally benefit from the media. Media should act as a mirror and reflect everything as a neutral tool. It is expected to publish on the axis of free thought [11]. Based upon the understanding of pluralism, news resources are not collected in a single center. Messages of different interest groups and with different content are created in a free environment; and the viewer, listener or reader masses select the ones appropriate for them. There is a mass of audience that is not passive in a neutral environment without message continuity [12].

However, the situation progresses oppositely to the axis anticipated by the approach. With the technological developments, consumption has been accelerated by the increase in production. Machine power has necessitated less manpower, and the free time of working class has gradually increased, so, now, the purpose is to create individuals who continuously consume [13]. In the new media world, interlocking structure arising with the sub-sectors and non-media sectors is like an example of capitalist models. The strongest field of the sector is the advertising industry. The condition for the existence of advertising industry presenting the most developed examples of connections with global companies and technological advancement is its impact on social demand. Today, however, the advertising field goes beyond the products and event, and the political leaders get involved in the advertising mechanism. In this context, media holdings are decision makers. Advertising industry and media industry merged to create a new field [14]. Media messages become mass commodity through sales. There is no mass production in media economy. Supply is refinanced directly partly by means of demand, and this is realized generally through advertising [15]. Media, which is expected to be the source of information and news for the individuals, has introduced a new understanding of reporting which is sensational and tabloid-weighted, does not contain information, does not regard the public interest and prevents the development of democracy prioritizing the profit and rating concern. This system which has been developed in order to legitimate the dominant ideology is revealed as passive, non-thinking, non-criticizing, spare time consumer [14]. In line with competition and media monopolization process, media has become dependent on advertising as its financial resource. It changes the framework conditions for journalism at this point. Commercialization becomes the key feature of the media system with these developments (Jarren Meier quoted by Alver [15]. Within this framework, it is necessary to abandon to see the politics, economy, technology as fully independent variables [14]. In capitalist production relations, the conditions which sustain the system are provided by the government. And the government plays a dominant role in the reproduction process [15]. According to Althusser, government realizes this legitimization by means of certain institutions such as education, police, trade unions, mass media, which he defines as ideological devices of the state. Skills taught in this process are realized to ensure subordination to the dominant ideology. For the officials within the system to perform their duties consciously, ideology should be adopted, they should be the assistants of the exploitation or the big men of the dominant ideology [16]. Ultimate objective in consumption societies is to keep the individuals away from sorrow. “Mediatic Hedonism emphasizes to perceive every moment of life as the pleasure itself.” Referring to the holistic commodity-centered structure of the dominant culture, Illich mentions an ideological and political area which organizes free time, turns nonsatisfaction to satisfaction, and overlaps the dominance relations. In this area, the consumers, who are not only the consumers of the goods are also the buyers of marketing strategies, government programs and simulated happiness, are shaped with the advertisements [17].

Considered within the framework of economy politics, the diversion of demand from printed media to visual media in the media messages legitimizes the operation of the system. Such capitalization of the press, is seen as a result of the commodification process of the news. Market dynamics, monovocality in the media texts are shown as the demand of people. In other words, “masses want this” logic is used in the new reporting understanding and the notions such as public responsibility, public interest are ignored [18].

Adorno and Horkheimer criticizing the consumer mass culture of capitalism in ‘Dialectic of Enlightenment’, express that mass culture products are the products deprived of depth, produced for entertainment, which are superficial and emptied; and use the “culture industry” notion instead of mass culture. In the capitalist system, individuals buy and consume what they produce with the money given to them when they are involved in the production in order to live on [19]. This renaming is for emphasizing the mechanical and automatized aspect. The masses surrounded with mind-deceiving free time activities have no contribution to the culture produced [20]. The authors emphasizing mass society and mass culture with the notion of culture industry prefer to approach culture in a holistic manner. Culture industries become integrated with capitalism. Media and entertainment companies keep the problems and distress of everyday life away and provide an escape from the truths and the problems of everyday life as parts of culture industry. Consumers seem satisfied with their positions, after all, the main purpose is to provide pleasure and entertainment [6]. Stating that everything in our lives is a simulation, Baudrillard expresses that all kinds of communication from art to fashion are converted to a form of production. A continuously working system is required in order to legitimate the production relations. Continuity of the system is ensured with a commodity having use value. This is simulation or hyper reality [21]. At this point, it can be evaluated as the concealment of its participation in the circulation order only as an indicator. Concealment is pretending not to own something which is actually owned, and simulating is pretending to own something which is actually not owned. First one is about existence which is not here at the moment, and the second is about non-existence which is not here at the moment [22]. It is possible to see the momentary happiness of the artificial world created for us in the printed media, news texts. Some very important events can be ignored while many unimportant events are brought to the top of the agenda. According to the scholars who prefer explaining culture industry with technological terms, involvement of millions of people necessitates the reproduction methods, and these reproduction methods make it inevitable to satisfy the same necessities with standard products at numerous places. ‘Technical contrast between the limited number of production centers and diffuse reception requires the organization and planning of the authorization holders. Today’s technical rationality is the rationality of the domination. Mood of the viewer that supports the system of culture industry in word and deed is not an excuse but a part of that system’ [23].

Consumers have to adapt themselves to the unity of production even in their spare times. The whole world is filtered with the filter of culture industry. In capitalist functioning, culture industry always promises and the consumers are always deceived. Temporary pleasure given with the plot and packing are continuously extended. “Customer coming for dinner should do with reading the menu. The praise of the colorless everyday life which they want to escape from is set before the people who are longing for the passion aroused by all those bright names and images” [24]. Culture industry becomes capable of doing whatever it wants in line with the consumer requirements, and the needs are continuously produced and the masses are directed and kept under control by this method. The attention is drawn to that mass culture products create atomized masses, that the control and decision mechanisms realized apart from the consumers are designed and written, viewed, printed and published in the enterprises. At this point, the position of the individuals is passive [23].

New life styles and practices are created based on dramatization and show order creation foreseen by the capitalist order. While elitism, individualism are brought to the forefront on one hand, the system inclining to imply sameness, on the other hand, desubjectifies the masses by means of conscious consumption [17]. Information flow is so fast that most information is read just by glancing without caring for the content. Actually, in one sense, an era of non-communication is formed under the name of communication. Commodified news texts become out of date, and displace one another. With the words of Oktay, there is no memory trace left. Media texts have become the set of things watched by the individuals through the windows of a fast moving train [17]. ‘Mediae presenting excessive images to us are deprived of real imagination. They are the images prepared by the mediae to be seen without looking, to be watched without dreaming and to be absorbed by the viewers remotely. We seem like the peepers deprived of illusion of a play for which we are not players and viewers’ [17].

Appearance of Health News in Printed Media

News about health services attracting the attention of public and mass media and the developments in medicine constitute an important field in the media. As the events in health field concern the individuals or their environment, society is interested in these events. Vaccination, if a remedy for any disease, is important news. This is because all individuals are at risk, and it is an important reporting activity for the control of the society by the authorities. Reporting all the news concerning the developments in health field, especially the ones creating awareness about health, are among the duties of media. The ultimate duty of the media is to give accurate information to people, at this point, it is the responsibility of the media to convey the health-related notions to the individuals accurately or wrongly [24]. However, when media-ownership structure is considered, the relations based on this cause change and conversions in reporting and health news. Not only the bodies, but also life paradigms and minds of the individuals are brought under control with the new medical industry field created [24]. In this context, a brand new commoditized field is created for people with the new health news formed in line with the hegemony and transferred to the individuals with the support of the consumption culture. In this field, required body forms and the diets to reach these forms, products to be eaten and drunk create the necessity to use the products of certain brands anticipated by the new esthetic formation and marketed for this purpose. Mostly, treatments of new diseases supported by certain fear policies are introduced into the market, and alternative medicine is sometimes removed away from its own reality and treatments with miraculous methods are presented. Continuously-consuming society is obligated to continuously consume also in the field of health.

Prof. Dr. Rasim Küçükusta emphasizes that a fear and threatbased campaign was conducted instead of complete and accurate informing during swine flu case and made it the most important of 2009, describing it with the words "virus for sale, miracle vaccination and million dollars". “It is an obvious indicator that the human health has finally become one of the fields commodified by capitalism. Because, human health acts also as means which creates economic size of million dollars ensuring the existence and development of a big industryst does not make much difference whether a microbe is produced for vaccination or for spreading a disease [16].

Most of people are interested in health news; and any invention or improvement based on important information is directly newsworthy. An innovation in heart surgery is a newly known notion for the persons hearing it for the first time; it is detailed and simplified as it is not known how it is done [25].

As it was emphasized in the previous section, media structure has been configured to encourage the adaptation of the fundamental doctrine. Reflection of generally current power’s perception and benefits by the important part of the media and other ideological institutions is a natural expectation on the basis of the assumptions not required to be discussed [26]. Groups, classes and societies have always established their existence conditions (conditions perceived over the ideological comments) as real values [27]. The gaps in the field of media ownership were later filled by the capital groups, famous businessmen under the name of media bosses. The use of the obtained capital in other profit making areas has caused the media to be affected by these changes. “A new media spoiled with promotion, sensation, wearing news duels and smear campaigns, also called the tabloid press, has dominated the area” [28]. Capitalist capital and conversions in the understanding of reporting have also been reflected on the health reporting, and health news, which have been commoditized in a profit-oriented commercial understanding, profit, rating area, has constituted a productive branch of this area [29].

Features of entertainment glorify the social integration within the framework of a society model which rejects the basic individual benefit differences and verifies the whole and identity of common interests [30]. Shocking and attention-grabbing news that are thought to attract more is prepared, and people are pumped consumption culture successfully in the health area. While advertisements and introduction-focused news are widely displayed on health pages, new models legitimizing the dominant ideology with the simulated body types are designed for women and men. Loss of confidence in the medical dominant ideology following the medicalization of health has created a new field which is thought to be able to be a remedy for the desperations. Humanistic information and traditional approaches in medicine have gradually strengthened and started to take place under the name of alternative medicine against the technological medicine. Individuals called fakers in the field, which is open to abuse, appear both in medicine world and on media pages and threaten health [31] Ideal body shape required for the summer is presented and many new products are launched in order to obtain such shape and the efforts are made to increase the profit margin with advertisements and marketing-focused work. News related to new types of flu during winter months, new drugs for healing, miraculous methods, quackery under the name of alternative medicine constitutes most of the health news. Health and culture industries work together and support consumption oriented life. And media is the strongest support at this point.

Empirical Study on Health News in the Newspapers in Turkey

Purpose of study

Transition to mass society after the industrialization has caused changes and conversions in the social life and created a new culture with the concept of mass culture. Culture styles of the new world shaped within the framework of capitalist order have revealed a money-centered relation and made the conversion to “commodities”, in other words “things”. Using tempting pleasures, masses are taken under the hegemony with the newly created domination styles, and turned into deceived individuals who willingly accept the order for the purpose of ensuring the legitimization of the system. All forms of communication, daily information reveal all these features of the organized capitalism [32]. Mass media we live together in almost every moment of our daily lives has its share from this change and transformation. The notion of news has moved away from its ultimate function of information transfer and has become emptied of meaning and turned into an entertainment element. The present study to determine the changes and transformations in the axis of capitalist order, dominant ideology notions in health news as one of the most important units of reporting.


In the study, health news published in the printed media is evaluated through representative newspapers and periodical analysis considering the largeness of the research population. Within the framework of the role of media in the commercialization of health, form of news presentation and the content of five national newspapers published in Turkey [33] will be examined limited to one-month period between 15 December-15 January.

Importance of study

Today, the news about health and medicine gradually become more important as it reveals situations directly affecting the lives of individuals. Health services and medical developments are two of the issues attracting the attention of the society. Society experiences many problems arising from the system and that cannot be solved. Events which can be news subject can happen any time. In this context, mass media should encourage the society to be sensitive, alert the authorities and create an inspection mechanism and provide accurate information flow rather than the reporting based on momentary free time entertainment.


1. Capitalist order causes form and content changes in reporting and health news.

a. Health news generally underlines the magazine-weighted sensational features.

b. Media is an important factor in the commercialization of health.

c. Ideology legitimization forms of the dominant ideology also affect health news.

Method of study

Considering the assumptions in the study, quantitative analysis method was used, and the number of health news published on the selected newspapers between 15 December 2013-15 December 2014 was determined. The content of the news was analyzed according to the topic title classification. In order to present an objective approach in the study, five newspapers were selected as examples representing all parts of Turkey. After the evaluation of the health news, form of presentation and content in the selected newspapers, the results were discussed.

Study criteria

News Subjects Analysis Criteria

1. Informative Health News

2. Health Policy News

3. Miracle Treatments-Drugs

4. Diseases of Celebrities

5. Doctor-Institution Focused News

6. Pregnancy-Mother-Child Health

7. Healthy Nutrition-Diet-Slimming

8. Beauty-Care-Plastic Surgery

9. Adolescence

10. Women’s-Men’s Health

11. Current Health News

12. Readers’ Letters

13. Advertising-Focused News


General content of the news on the newspapers selected within the framework of the study appears as an indicator of that health services are based on material provisions. Services are shaped as commodities seeking profit. Health field is surrounded by extraordinary, miraculous notions. Interviews made with celebrities and famous doctors support this field. Some sensational news are made about diseases to create anxiety in the society in accordance with the fear policy.

Informative news are generally featured by dramatic and tragic situations. Several visuals are used in most of the news. Visuals presenting ideal body shapes for women and men are used in most of the news and the products required to have such shapes are pumped up by the advertising industry. News headings are attractive, striking, fluent, and attract the attention making the same subjects matter of debate. Formally, Milliyet and Haber Türk newspapers have daily health columns, and health news has wide coverage in the other parts of the newspapers at the weekends. Health pages generally consist of the news about healthy nutrition, diet and current health news (Table 1 and Figure 1).

  Milliyet Haber türk Cumhuriyet Yenişafak Posta
Informative Health News 36 46 6 3 25
Health Policy News 8 14 7 2 5
Miracle Treatments-Drugs 14 12   1 7
Diseases of Celebrities 2 1 1   1
Doctor-Institution Focused News 8 6 1   6
Pregnancy- Mother-Child Health 2 12      
Healthy Nutrition-Diet-Slimming  10 5     7
Beauty- Care-Plastic Surgery 23 9   1 6
Adolescence 3     1  
Women’s –Men’s Health 4 2     58
Current Health News 20 14 1 4 1
Readers’ Letters   20     320
Advertising-Focused News 7     2 6

Table 1: News Subjects topics analysis results.


Figure 1: News subjects topics analysis results.

Cumhuriyet Newspaper generally has informative news and the ones on health policy. In the news dated 15 December 2013 titled “Attention! Corn with GMO can Spread to Ours”, it was reported that Agriculture Engineers ceased the import permit of State Council, and the attention was drawn to the possibility of genetically modified corn to spread to the corn produced in Turkey during transportation, use or storage. In the news, the importance of necessary measures and pulling all products from the market was emphasized.

On 5 January 2014, there is an interview with Prof. Dr. Altan Onat, known as ‘the Teacher of Teachers, and Turkish Adult Risk Factor Study (TEKHARF) having examined health behaviors of Turkish people since 1990s was published full-page. In the news themed H3N2, a new type of flu in 2014, it was reported that queues for drugs get longer with the sub-headings ‘Drug queues increased’ and ‘Cancer and Heart Drugs are Among the Drugs which cannot be Found’ (Figure 2).


Figure 2: Cumhuriyet newspaper 15 December (2014).

Attention! Corn with GMO can Spread to Ours….

Posta Newspaper gives full-page news about thyroid and prostate diseases and their treatment methods on the 18th page of the newspaper on the same date with interesting headings “Attention if Growing Fast”, “You may Have it if your Mother or Aunt has it”, “Operations are not Nightmares anymore” with the expressions of the specialist doctors. Every day on the 14th page of the newspaper, the letters from Haydar Dümen readers are published. The page consists of approximately 12-13 questions from readers and their answers, and the answers of specialist doctors for the questions about “Men’s Health” at the right bottom of the page, and “Women’s Health” at the bottom. In the health policy news published on 26 December, it was reported that 30 new hospitals would be opened and the employment rate would reach to 230 thousand. On the 16th page, there was information about ‘Restless Leg Syndrome’. On 11 January, news titled ‘Eat Walnut to Stay Young’, ‘Eyelid Fall Causes Headache’ were followed by general health news about monozygotic twins born in Marmaris. In other current health news, the story of a woman donating her kidney to her mother-in-law to save her life was narrated (Figure 3). On the 9th page of HT Magazin, Annex of Haber Türk Newspaper, titled “Beauty”, beauty, stress relieving, regional pain subjects were handled and various herbal treatment methods were recommended. On the 14th page, there was a fullpage interview with the famous doctor Prof. Dr. Rasim Küçükusta about nutrition and industrialized medicine. On 23 December, autism was handled on health page; and on 29 December, a full page interview with the world-famous doctor Dr. Strossier was published with the images under the title of ‘No Detox with Drugs’. On 1 January 2014, a Mother and Child page was prepared with the title ‘You Should Know These before Being a Mother’. Two days later, the news titled ‘Cancer Screening Begins for 15 Million Women’ was published on the health page as general health news as well as informative news about Smoking Cessation, Vitamin E and Dementia effect, sleep and protection of brain health. On 6 January, in the health section on page 7, Diets and Suna Dumankaya’s column, ‘Secret of Natural Beauty’, were published, and Dumankaya made recommendations about ‘getting rid of the spots’, ‘preparing your own foundation cream’, ‘honey mixture for nails’, ‘using lavender for cracked lips’. On 11 January, flu treatment methods, as the top issue of Turkey’s agenda recently, were explained. News stating Swetroot as the strongest tea for flu, emphasizing natural food to overcome diseases appears frequently on health pages. On 12 January, H3N2, new-fashion flu of 2014 winter, and natural protection methods against it were given with the supplementary tea recipes by Dr. Ender Saraç. On HT Magazin Health Page, mostly aesthetics news appears, and Frotox, the new solution for wrinkles, is presented as a miracle method under the title ‘Will Frotox Topple Botox from its Throne?’ together with the diet recipes with satisfactory results. In health policy themed news on page 6 of HT Magazin dated 14 January, it was emphasized that our people like going to emergency services when they get sick, and it was stated that the number of people applying to emergency services increased 14 million in the last year. Afterwards, it was stated that spatial and other problems should be solved urgently in order to raise awareness about the situation of emergency services. On 15 January, in the news about children’s fever, the symptoms, methods for fighting against the infections, the cases necessitating doctor consultation were explained. Be ready for the New Year with 4 steps in 4 days (Figure 4). On 15 December, there was informative news in Milliyet Newspaper about the negative effects of technology and the importance of keeping children away from television before the age of three. Furthermore, tips for walking in snow and warnings against possible fall accidents in winter were given in Milliyet Cadde supplement. While explaining the menopause under the title of “I like my 40th age”, the positive aspects of the age 40 were emphasized. On 21 December, women with hair loss were recommended hair transplantation methods. Ass. Prof. Dr. Erdem Güven was quoted stating that hair loss might be the sign of serious illnesses. On 25 December, in the news titled ‘Lose Weight with Two Glasses of Milk Everyday’, milk was shown among the miracle nutriments. On 2 January 2014, Tuberculosis Week article series was published and the importance of vaccination was emphasized. On 6 January, the article by Prof. Dr. Murat Tuzcu attracted attention to sensational health news. Next day, recent developments related to hypertension were explained; however, a kind of fear policy was applied with the title ‘Silent Murderer Shots the Organs’ on Milliyet Cadde.


Figure 3: Posta newspaper 17 April 2013.


Figure 4: Posta newspaper, 28 december 2013.

On 23 December, advertisements of some brands such as Amway, Tariş, Panasonic, Lush were given under health and beauty titles with the slogans such as “Enter the New Year in Good Shape”, “Personal Care”, “Let Your Glitter be Recognized” on Milliyet Cadde Health page. On 26 December, news covering the question and discussions whether the best treatment method is by-pass or stent were published, and on the next day, ‘a new me in the New Year’ theme was handled. Just before the New Year, themes such as beauty, gifts and personal care became the subjects of all news. On 11 January, changes in the lips as a result of ageing, aesthetic miracle methods required for the removal of ageing indications were explained under the title ‘Lips Never Forgive’. On the 5th page of the newspaper, the statement of the Minister of Health, Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, which indicated that new flu virus H3N2 affected 1 million people in 4 months, was reported and the natural protection methods were explained. Müezzinoğlu stated that he defeated the flu by drinking water with lemon every day. On 13 January, the importance of breast milk was emphasized in the news themed Mother and Children’s Health Naphthaline can Cause Cancer (Figure 5).


Figure 5: Milliyet newspaper, milliyet cadde supplement 16 december 2014.

In Yeni Şafak Newspaper, health news are rarely published, and most of them are informative, general health news. On 21 December, in the news titled “New Ban for E-Cigarette” published in the right bottom corner of the 2nd page, it was stated that New York City Council banned also use of e-cigarettes in closed areas. On 25 December, the advertising of the program “Healthy Life with Ä°brahim Saraçoğlu” was published on the 25th page, and it was supported with the expression “Your Health Be Permanent, Your Spiritual World Be Rich” in large fonts with the photo of Saraçoğlu. On Yılbaşı Postası supplement, children’s health and allergies were handled under the title “It is Required to Breath Life to the Full” on 27 December. News on insomnia, varicosis treatment were published full page on the 18th page with the images of the specialists. On 8 January, the news on the flu were published under the title ‘Swine Flu Continues to Kill’. On 13 January, it was stated in the half-page news that the fees for consultation by specialist doctors were reduced compared to the previous year. The news about the health policy was supported with medical consultation images including technological devices. Celebrities are Very Sick (Figure 6).


Figure 6: Milliyet Newspaper, 9 January 2014.


The notion of health which is evaluated together with the social life conditions can be defined not only as the status of being sick or disabled, but also as the status of being comfortable, in peace and wellness physically, mentally and socially [1]. Health reporting aims to help the media accurately convey the notions and the developments in medicine to people within the frame of health communication. The role of the mass media cannot be ignored in the creation of health awareness. According to the liberal theory, the ultimate target of reporting in the context of democracy and freedom is to provide accurate information flow to people, to create public opinion and to encourage people for participation. However, the dominant ideology and the changes in the media ownership structures have brought commercial concerns to the fore and led to the formation of a new understanding of reporting shaped within the framework of the power of media boss. And this has commodified the notion of news together with an understanding of sensational and magazine-weighted publication, and has turned it into emptied, consumption “things” for entertainment and for filling spare time. Health reporting has gradually become the support for the creation of health industry power. New physical forms are presented to masses who are happy with their lives as consumers through the media spreading the notions of beauty, care. Nutrition, body shapes, removal of wrinkles, methods of protection from the diseases are imposed on individuals with new techniques and templates as anticipated by the capitalist system. In this context, the purpose is to atomize the pacified individuals with the new life paradigms which are anticipated by and legitimize the system. Medical industry market creates simulated new areas focused on advertising and marketing in order to provide the continuation of the capitalist system and controls people not only physically but also mentally. Media classified by Althusser among the ideological devices of the state grounds on reporting that focuses on consumption culture and ensures the legitimization of this new network established in the field of health.

The purpose of this study is to present the reflection of the capitalist economy logic on health news in the frame of the selected newspapers; the role of media in the commercialization of health is considered and analyzed through the presentation and content of the news by five national newspapers published in Turkey. Yeni Şafak, Posta, Haber Türk, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet newspapers were analyzed in one-month period between 15 December and 15 January. As a conclusion, according to the analysis of the findings, Posta Newspaper is among the newspapers where health news have a wide coverage. Health problems are handled especially in the readers’ letters columns published every day. Cumhuriyet and Yeni Şafak are the newspapers which rarely include health news. Both newspapers include current health news and news focused on health policy within the scope of the study, but there is scarcely any sensational and magazine news. Haber Türk and Milliyet Newspapers include the methods of protection from diseases, herbal remedies, new diseases and miraculous treatment methods in the health columns published every day. Sometimes, health news of celebrities draw attention.


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