CNN Turk, a TV news channel, cut the broadcast of an opposition mayoral candidate without any notice, immediately switching over to a speech by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday. Referring to the break in the broadcast, the opposition candidate reacted by saying that he felt sorry for the situation of the media in Turkey.
Ekrem Imamoglu, the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) mayoral candidate for Istanbul, was a guest on “40 Questions,” an interview show, answering the questions of Buket Aydin, presenter of the show. The TV channel interrupted Imamoglu’s interview to switch over to a live speech by Erdogan.
Although the interview was a recorded broadcast, the interruption caused criticism from viewers causing the trending of the hashtag #CensorCNNTürk on social media in Turkey.
Responding to the sudden cut in the broadcast, Imamoglu said the presenter, Aydin, was at no fault.
“They [seniors of the ruling party] are speaking all day long. The media cannot even show a program [while broadcasting those speeches]. I feel sorry for the media in Turkey,” Imamoglu argued, referring to the tendentious situation of pro-government media outlets.
Imamoglu further stated that he and his wife had decided to keep their TV off at home.
The ruling party has excessive coverage on Turkish media
According to Erdogan’s critics, Turkey lacks governance for electoral contestants to compete equally in terms of media coverage.
During the early presidential and parliamentary elections in June 2018, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) received excessive coverage by government-affiliated public and private media, according to International Election Observation Mission (IEOM), a common endeavour involving the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
CNN Turk bought by pro-government
Opponents claim that Erdogan has been muting and silencing critical voices in Turkey. “The media is now under total control of the ruling AKP and its close confidants,” alleged “open democracy, an independent global media platform.
Dogan Media group, once criticized by Erdogan for being biased against him and the ruling party was bought by a pro-government conglomerate just before the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018. The group notably owns the dailies Hurriyet and Posta, and the channels Kanal D and CNN Turk.