Kurdish party complains about media embargo in Turkey

Supporters-Cheer-Selahattin-Demirtas-of-Kurdish-Peoples-Democratic-Party-HDP-Istanbul-May-2015-Emrah-Gurel-AP.jpg

Kurdish HDP supporters. File photo

ARA News

The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) has complained that there is a media embargo on the party by the Turkish media with a limited number of days left before the referendum to take place on April 16.

“As Referendum Day approaches, we are observing together how the hardened problems of the media impact upon the future of society in Turkey,” Saruhan Oluç, HDP Co-Chair said.

“It is, of course, clear that we do not have the right to determine the editorial policies of media organizations, nor do we have such an intention. However, as a political party that received the vote of 6 million citizens, the grave media embargo that we have been placed under urges us to make a statement on the issue, and mark this instance in history,” the official said.

“It is first necessary to underline a number of facts regarding the TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation), a ‘public institution’, which by law, must remain impartial. The data we have reveals that the TRT, while broadcasting the referendum campaigns of political parties, brazenly violates its own law, the RTÜK (Supreme Board of Radio and Television) Law and the principles of the Supreme Election Council of Turkey,” the HDP official added.

“When we look at the distribution of live broadcast and debate programs on the TRT News Channel for the period from 1 to 22 March, 2017, we observe that the Presidency was allocated 1390 minutes, the AKP [the Justice and Development Party, the party in power] 2723 minutes, the CHP [the Republican People’s Party, the main opposition party] 216 minutes, the MHP [the National Movement Party] 48 minutes, and no time at all, or 0 minutes, to the HDP. A similar picture exists for durations allocated in news bulletins and the distribution of guests on debate programs,” the HDP official said.

Moreover, the Kurdish party complained about the coverage of private TV channels, which are also under the influence of the government and supported the ruling AKP party during the failed military coup.

“On 17 national channels, during the period from 1 to 22 March, 2017, the President and the AKP were allocated a total of 420-and-a-half hours of live broadcast [on private TV channels], while the HDP was allocated no time at all,” the HDP official said.

“In the same way, while the President, Prime Minister, leaders of other political parties, members of parliament and political party representatives were invited many times as guests, not a single representative of the HDP was invited to a single TV program,” the HDP added.

The HDP called on the international media and national media to raise attention to this issue. “As the party [HDP] experiences this embargo in the heaviest and most intense manner, during a critical process that will determine the fate of our peoples, we expect your contribution to protect the right to access information of each and every one of our citizens,” Oluç concluded.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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