Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy Co-Chair Saruhan Oluç has written a letter to the national and international media organizations regarding the grave media embargo against his party.
Stating that only a limited number of days left before the referendum on the constitutional change to be held on April 16, Oluç has stated in his letter that “As the day of referendum approaches, we are observing how the hardened problems of the media impact upon the future of society in Turkey. It is 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 the issue in history.”
A report prepared by the Unity for Democracy Initiative (DİB) has indicated that national TV stations across Turkey broadcast live speeches by Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials for a total of 470 hours in the past 20 days.
According to the report 17 national TV stations, including the state-run TRT, Kanal D, CNNTürk, Fox TV and HaberTürk, had broadcast Erdoğan’s live speeches for a total of 169 hours from March 1 to March 20. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and other AKP officials were given 301 hours, 30 minutes of airtime during the same period. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) was allotted 45.5 hours of airtime, while the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) was given 15 hours, in total. The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), on the other hand, received no air time in pre-referendum broadcasts for the last 20 days.
HDP’s Oluç has also criticized state-run TRT and said that “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 2723 minutes, the CHP 216 minutes, the MHP 48 minutes, and no time at all, or 0 minutes, to the HDP. A similar picture exists for duration allocated in news bulletins and the distribution of guests on debate programs.”
Oluç has continued his criticism as follow: “Yes, it is true that the media in Turkey has never been completely independent from political power. Economic relationships have always influenced the discourse of media outlets. However, during no period of the history of the Republic has the government had so much sway over the media. In brief, the relationship between media and the government in Turkey is experiencing its worst, darkest and most dependent period ever.”
Calling national and international media organizations to raise their voice against this embargo, Oluç has also said that “as the party that 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 contributions to protect the right to access information of each and every one of our citizens.”
March 28, 2017