Turkey’s TV watchdog imposed a broadcast ban on a critical channel for broadcasting an opposition leader’s speech, critical online media outlet Diken reported on Tuesday.
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK), Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog authority issued a broadcast ban to the TV station Tele 1 for the broadcasting of a parliamentary speech by Sezai Temelli, co-leader of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
The RTUK ordered a two-day suspension of Tele 1 TV news bulletin, covering Monday and Tuesday.
Merdan Yanardag, owner and editor-in-chief of Tele 1 announced the ban through his Twitter account on Monday.
“The RTUK has been continuing to crack down on freedom of expression and press. [The watchdog] ordered a ban not to broadcast the news bulletin for two days. Today we could not broadcast the bulletin, instead, we [had to] broadcast a documentary which the RTUK sent us. There will be no bulletin on Tuesday as well. I condemn the [RTUK’s] ruling,” Yanardag’s tweet reads.
In response to the RTUK’s penalties given to news bulletin aired on Tele 1, Baris Yarkadas, a former lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and a journalist, criticized the ruling.
He claimed that the RTUK has not imposed a ban on pro-government media outlets which had broadcast the same speech.
“Let your justice fall into the ground!” tweeted Yarkadas, condemning the RTUK.
Following the ruling, two news bulletins were suspended from air on May 13 and 14.
RTUK has turned into an execution office
According to the law, the RTUK stands as an independent institution.
However, some of its members questioned its independence.
Ismet Demirdogen who was chosen as the RTUK member from the quota of CHP said that the watchdog has turned into an executive office of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) which targeted its dissidents.
“Even the most innocent thoughts and explanations [are] regarded as a crime by the certain group’s targets, additionally the RTUK is being used as a silencing tool of the politic power,” Demirdogen added.