Turkey threatens to shut down Kurdish media

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Kurds celebrating Newroz. File photo

ARA News 

ANKARA – The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) said on Friday that Turkey is pressuring Eutelsat SA, a French satellite provider, to shut down Med Nuçe. Media activists have started a campaign to prevent the closure of the Kurdish TV station.

Eutelsat, which hosts over 6000 TV channels, is planning “to remove immediately” Med Nuçe from its transponder because “the content is not in line with public order directives […] in Turkey as well as with the laws which regulate TV distribution in Europe.”

The EFJ said that Eutelsat had bowed to pressure from the Turkish Radio Television Supreme Council (RTÜK). The Turkish government believes that Med Nuçe is aligned with the banned Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).

The closure of Med Nuçe is not an isolated event. Türksat, a state-owned satellite operator, recently removed around 20 opposition channels and radio stations. Türksat claimed that their content posed a threat to national security.

The European Federation of Journalists said in a statement: “We are sending this message to Rodophe Belmer, Eutelsat CEO, to maintain the signal of Kurdish Med Nuçe TV.” The EFJ insisted that Eutelsat, “protect media pluralism and respect the Kurdish people’s right to access information.” 

“We don’t have to agree with the political content of the channel, but they have the right to express their view in a democratic society. The content of this channel is fully respecting public order directives and Eutelsat should not help Turkish authorities in their media violations,” the EFJ said. 

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Friday, that Turkish authorities had closed down at least 20 television and radio stations.

The shuttered broadcasters include pro-Kurdish and leftist radio stations, a Kurdish-language channel for children and a channel that played Kurdish folk music. 

“After silencing much of the critical press, Turkey is now targeting a wide swath of cultural and political expression by shuttering minority broadcasters,” CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said. “When the government sees even children’s programs as a threat to national security, it is clearly abusing its emergency powers.”

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Source: ARA News

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