October 12, 2015

Teledünya, Kablo TV remove critical TV stations from air

Teledünya and Kablo TV, digital satellite platforms which use the satellite company Türksat's infrastructure halted the broadcast of TV stations which are known for their critical stance towards the government on Monday morning.

Customer service representatives for the platforms declined to give any information on the stations that the companies had stopped broadcasting, saying they did not have detailed information about the issue. However, some of the platform's subscribers reported problems in accessing Bugün TV, Kanaltürk, Shaber and Samanyolu TV and Yumurcak TV in posts on Twitter.

“We only received an email informing us. We are told only to say that the act is the decision of an administrative board. We also do not have any information about which channels have been removed and the reason for the decision,” a service representative was quoted as saying.

After increasing complaints over the removal of the TV stations without any information on the action being issued, Türksat sent a brief statement to their customers, saying the mentioned TV stations had been removed from Teledünya due to a decision of their administrative board.

The digital platform's controversial move came just ahead of a critical snap general election slated for Nov. 1.

Last week Digiturk announced that it had stopped the broadcast of certain TV stations following a request from a prosecutor.

Turkcell TV+, an online TV streaming service from Internet provider superonline, and Tivibu, another service provided by TTNet, had previously announced that they have removed the stations in question from their platforms by order of the Ankara Public Prosecutor's Office on the suspicion that they support a terrorist organization.

Even a children's station, Yumurcak TV, was removed, prompting anger from some users, who were perplexed at the idea that a children's TV station could support terrorism.

The Bugün TV, Kanaltürk, Shaber, and Samanyolu TV stations have become targets of the government's crackdown for being deemed to be affiliated with the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, a grassroots social initiative inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who founded the AK Party, blames the movement for instigating the massive corruption probes revealed while he was prime minister on Dec. 17 and 25, 2013, which involved ministers in his government and even some of his family members.

Published on Today's Zaman, 12 October 2015, Monday