Thursday, October 30, 2008

Not Russia yet

Turkey is still a more democratic society with a media that has more freedom than Russia but the signs are not good.
The Supreme Board of Radio and Television, or RTÜK, President Zahid Akman decided to shut down 11 channels belonging to the Doğan Media Corporation's D-Smart, along with several other channels, because they had not acquired the necessary broadcasting licenses.

Şaban Sevinç, an RTÜK member who voted against the closures, said RTÜK ignored license requests from these channels for two years and that their decision was linked to the Lighthouse e.V. affair.

“Akman deliberately left the applications pending so that he could have leverage over the channel owners,” Sevinç told the Turkish Daily News yesterday. “In 2007, after a brawl between Akman and D-Smart, he sent a warning to the company to stop their unlicensed broadcasts.”
This method is not unknown: you make it impossible for companies to acquire the documentation they need and then you close them down for not having said documentation.

For the moment it is possible to challenge and criticize.
Hürriyet editor-in-chief Ertuğrul Özkök noted the suspicious nature of the RTÜK decision and pointed out a recent frequency change by Türksart Company. Türksart is responsible for satellite broadcasting and recently set about rearranging the order of television channels, burying Doğan Media Corporation's flagship Channel D at 41st in line.

"Do you think these two developments are coincidental?" asked Özkök in his article published yesterday.
Well, um, now that you ask, no.

Attempts to remove Zahid Akman from the post are continuing and his involvement in dubious commercial ventures are widely publicized (presumably why he is trying to shut down certain TV stations). The ruling AK Party is doing all it can to keep him in place.


Anonymous said...

An excellent article. Sir,
It is with a sense of regret that one notices the EU's continued determination (against the full weight of public opinion) to continue membership negotiations with Turkey, especially when the latter is to be considered:

Even the BBC have taken note.....well, that really says something.

Helen said...

Even the BBC have taken note.....well, that really says something.

Not really. What the BBC says on matters to do with the EU is of very little significance or interest.

Normally, I would say that about anonymous postings as well. Any chance of a moniker?