TURKISH Tele 1 blackout for five days following inappropriate comments made by presenter.
A five-day blackout of the Tele 1 in Turkey has been condemned by the Press Council citing a breach in freedom of expression.
The blackout was executed by the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) saying, “The annulment of the stay of execution is a new blow dealt by the judiciary to freedom of communication.”
The station was fined by the RTÜK over its coverage and criticisms of Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II and has subsequently been subject to blackout for a period of five days from September 3.
The Press Council in Turkey has openly criticised the statement in a written statement, stating, “The blacked out screen is a picture of shame showing the latest state of people’s right to information and freedom of expression and press in the country.”
“With its unprecedented decision, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has blacked out TELE 1 Television for five days.
“Relying on the majority of votes of representatives from the ruling party, watching for opportunities to silence non-pro-government television channels, the RTÜK Supreme Board decided to suspend the broadcasts of TELE 1 and Halk TV channels for five days and the Administrative Court gave a ruling of stay of execution upon the application of the Press Council and the application of these channels.
“As the stay of execution was annulled upon its objection, the RTÜK swiftly blacked out TELE 1 screens for five days at midnight. The blacked out screen is a picture of shame showing the latest state of people’s right to information and freedom of expression and press in the country.
“The annulment of the stay of execution upon an objection is also a new blow dealt by the judiciary to freedom of communication.
“TELE 1 channel has not been able to express none of its claims verbally and before the court so far. This situation itself proves that the channel has been closed without the procedural guarantees of freedom of expression and with a violation of freedom of communication.
“Apart from this, though no such authority is granted as per the Law no. 6112, it was said that a ‘notification’ was made on the phone and Twitter and the blackout was notified by the same means. It also shows that the administration acts arbitrarily and all guarantees of the principle of rule of law preventing arbitrariness are eliminated when dissidents are concerned.
“We, as the Press Council, believe that everyone who believes in people’s right to get information and freedom of expression, must stand up against this treatment of TELE 1 Television and say ‘Stop’ to this.”
A high court in Turkey has announced that the penalty should be enforced after the petition for it to be overturned was denied.
The issue erupted after Yanardağ described the sultan as “a despot who was a despicable dictator serving imperialism, drowned Mithat Pasha in Taif, oppressed all intellectuals who advocated the Ottoman-Turkish enlightenment and modernisation, such as Namık Kemal, Tevfik Fikret”
This is the only time a blackout has been handed out to any Turkish media.
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