From time to time, people with disabilities speak in the media and we often witness the question "Why can't people with disabilities find themselves in the media?" at that same place. This is a paradox that has not been meaningful for years. An example of this question is "Why does the media not include these branches apart from football?" which is asked to the athletes in a different sports branch than football. Excluding football, of course, will not increase the popularity of other sports.
Although these stereotypes and the media system, which have become a loop, turn a little under the influence of digital media, they have maintained their same order most of the time. Not many steps have been taken to change this, it has proceeded with the logic of extroverted criticism as if it were always ruled by others.
Being unable to find a place in the media after my success as an active athlete, I was upset as an athlete waving the flag of this country. Although I have fulfilled the elements such as labour, sacrifice and discipline that an athlete will show on the way to success; I realized that I need to do something for this success’ announcement, for people to be told about it and athlete identity management. In digital media, I have seen that it somehow attracts people's attention.
I tried to participate in news and interviews as much as I can in traditional media. However, I constantly questioned why people with disabilities cannot find a permanent place in the media. I think people with disabilities could present news and take part in series and movies as actors. If individuals with disabilities are not allowed to work in the media, this is discrimination.
For this, somebody had to step in and create examples so that something could happen to get rid of agitation or sensitivity concerns. At a time when I thought how to change this, the message from social media put me on a completely different journey.
The channel producer who was reaching me on the S Sports channel said he wanted to meet me. At the beginning of the meeting, which I thought was a classic interview or news, hearing the sentence "We want to make a TV program, we want to discuss this with you." was one of the biggest surprises I've had in my life. It is as if I have sent such a powerful message to the universe that it had done it for me. Or I was dreaming too much, it was because of that.
When I went to meet with the channel, they said that Sadettin Saran, the Chairman of Saran Holding, wanted to place a host with a disability on their screens, and as far as they’ve seen me from social media, and with my smiling face, they thought I could do it. It was a great reason for pride and happiness for me to hear those thoughts.
I said I can do it. I had no experience in that, but I wanted to try it. My only concern was that as an active athlete, affection of my national team camps and training plan. They said that they would help me in this matter and that they had already reached me knowing that. The coming together of everything was a sign to breaking new ground.
I wanted to work on a channel that provides freedom for the program format to be made. But I should be involved in a program that appeals to everyone and looks very ordinary so that everyone watches and discrimination disappears.
World's best and most-watched football league, which I also am a fan of, Premier League’s broadcast rights in Turkey is held by S Sports channel. We decided to make a program called Premier Panorama. My schedule was going to be in a format that includes the goals, summaries, special moments of the week and even the history of the league.
We were all very happy after the trial shots. The shooting was very good. I even answered the question how I was so calm throughout the shooting as if I had experienced before and I said: "I couldn't get very excited here because I was excited to shoot arrows in front of hundreds of people in the final fields." It was a very exciting thing for me, but my excitement had just turned into happiness. The program was approved and televised on the evening of the shooting day.
At the beginning of 2019, with the TV program we started, I became the first host on wheelchairs in Turkey. After the first episode, I received hundreds of beautiful messages and feedback from media professionals and viewers.
I would like to thank Sadettin Saran for making all these happen, the general manager of S Sport Emre Eren, program director Hasan Uslu, producer Elif Durgun, General Manager Assistant Numan Özdalga, and the Saran Group family who were with me with their support.
Premier Panorama is on S Sports screens every Wednesday at 23:30 with its new episode. You can follow the broadcast stream for airing of past episodes at https://www.ssport.tv/yayin-akisi.
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