Local Turkish TV channel red-tagged after reports on municipal corruption

The headquarters of TV 52, situated in Turkey’s Ordu province, was red-tagged on March 12 over alleged violation of fire safety regulations.

Police from Ordu’s central Altinordu district raided TV 52 and red-tagged its offices on the grounds that the company had failed to meet zoning and fire safety regulations on the building’s top two floors within a designated period of time.

The reason behind the move has nothing to do with safety regulations, TV 52 Chairman İsa Akçay said, but rather the station’s broadcasts on corruption in municipal tenders and construction permits.

“TV 52 has been around for 25 years. However, some people became disturbed after the channel reported on Ordu Metropolitan Municipality corruption in tenders and zoning, in accordance with the people’s right to know,” Atilla Sertel, a deputy for Turkey’s main opposition Republican Peoples’s Party (CHP), said in a written statement.

“We have just witnessed in Ordu an example of the pressure, intimidation and jailing that have become normal for journalists during the time in power of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). The purpose is not to inspect but to silence TV 52,” added Sertel.

The mayors of both the Ordu Metropolitan Municipality and the Altınordu Municipality were elected on the ticket of the ruling AKP, led by Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 248 journalists and media workers were in jail as of March 9, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 193 were under arrest pending trial while only 55 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 139 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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