April 28, 2016

AK Party set to shut down eight more critical TV channels, CHP deputy claims

A deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Barış Yarkadaş, has claimed that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government will take action soon for the termination of broadcasting contracts of eight more critical channels.

Speaking on a program on Can Erzincan TV on Wednesday, Yarkadaş said: “The AKP [another acronym for the ruling party] will take action on Thursday for the closure of eight more TV channels through RTÜK [the Radio and Television Supreme Council]. They want to turn Turkey into a desert-like place and want to silence all critical voices.”

According to Yarkadaş, the TV channels that will be closed down by the AK Party government are Can Erzincan TV, Van TV, Özgür Gün TV, Jiyan TV, Hayat TV, Azadi TV, IMC TV and Fox TV.

The CHP deputy said RTÜK will discuss cancelling broadcasting contracts of these TV channels at its meeting on Thursday.

There is a growing pressure on the journalists and media outlets in Turkey that refuse to follow a pro-government editorial stance.

In October of last year, Turkey witnessed appointment of a panel of trustees to the İpek Koza Holding in a government-backed move, which apparently aimed to intimidate independent journalists and attracted widespread negative reaction.

The trustees took over the management of the Bugün and Millet dailies and the channels Bugün TV and Kanaltürk early on Oct. 28 when police forcibly entered the broadcasting headquarters of the media group, during which journalists and protesters claimed they were subjected to police brutality. The trustees immediately fired dozens of journalists from the group and turned the news outlets, which used to have a critical stance, into government mouthpieces. The outlets were later shut down.

Trustees also took over the management of Feza Publishing, which includes the Zaman and Today’s Zaman dailies earlier in March. Zaman was Turkey’s best-selling daily before the appointment of the trustees selling 600,000 copies daily, its circulation is around 2,000 now.

Also in December, Turkey saw the screens of 14 TV channels go black, as well as the silencing of several radio channels that operate under the Samanyolu Broadcasting Group because they were removed from the state-owned Turkish Satellite Communications Company (Türksat) infrastructure.

Türksat dropped these media outlets despite having signed an agreement with Samanyolu Broadcasting Group that necessitated service being provided until 2024. The move left hundreds of journalists jobless.

Published on Turkish Minute, 27 April 2016, Wednesday