news-channelNews Channel, one of the Kurdish televisions Eutelsat seeks to suspend the broadcast of on Turkey’s demand, released a statement calling on all those that defend the freedom of press to speak out against the attack on Kurdish press.

Describing Eutelsat action against Kurdish televisions as an unforgivable complicity that should to be condemned in the strongest terms, News Channel stressed that a stronger legal conviction and stronger political reaction is needed to deter those that jeopardise the freedom of press and expression in cahoots with repressive regimes for these fundamental rights cannot be a matter of bargain.

The statement by Kurdish TV News Channel is as follows:

“Bowing to instructions of the repressive Turkish regime, the European satellite company Eutelsat seeks to stop the broadcasting of Kurdish televisions once again. With this attitude, the French company has placed itself among the enemies of freedom of expression in the eyes of the public opinion.

The leading European operator has on April 14th instructed suspension of the broadcasting of News Channel, Stêrk TV and Ronahi TV through distributor companies. While News Channel broadcasts in Turkish, and Stêrk TV in several dialects of Kurdish, Ronahi TV with its programs in Kurdish, Arabic and French focuses mainly on Rojava Kurds. Stêrk TV has license in Norway, News Channel in Italy and Ronahi TV in Sweden. This decision by Eutelsat, which we regard as an unacceptable attack, comes in a process when the freedom of press is more fragile than ever in Turkey, ruled by a President that holds all the tools of government and supresses all the manners of opposition.

With over 160 journalists behind bars, Turkey is undisputedly the biggest prison for journalists today. According to Amnesty International, 156 media outlets have been shut down and around 2,500 journalists have lost their job since the coup attempt of July 2016. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Turkey 155th among 180 countries in the world press freedom index. In the circumstances, Turkey takes its place among the countries where the freedom of press is trampled the most. At the same time, the Human Rights Association (IHD) of Turkey reported the year of 2016 as the worst year with regard to human rights since 1999 when negotiations with the European Union were launched.

 

At a time when this regime is criticized on all hands, Eutelsat siding with repression against the right to information and freedom of thought is quite worrisome. This attitude, before anything else, manifests an unforgivable complicity that should to be condemned in the strongest terms. French group Eutelsat does not only contribute to repression against the freedom of press but also makes itself accomplice and a tool of repression in the hands of the Turkish regime. The pressure executed in Turkey has been exported to Europe today. This constitutes a threat for not only Kurdish media but also for the entire European democracy and values on which the European Union is built.

Eutelsat was already convicted by Paris Commercial Court in November 2016. The Court demanded broadcasts resume for Kurdish televisions Med Nuçe and Newroz TV, and sentenced Eutelsat to pay damages after the broadcasting of both televisions were suspended on demand of Turkish officials in October 2016. Then’s attack by Eutelsat also came at a time when more than 20 television channels and radio stations were shut down in Turkey. Despite having been convicted already, Eutelsat does not abstain from repeating the crime.

A stronger legal conviction and stronger political reaction is needed to deter those that jeopardise the freedom of press and expression in cahoots with repressive regimes for these fundamental rights cannot be a matter of bargain.

We strongly condemn the attacks against the Kurdish media and the freedom of press in general terms.

We call on international press and media outlets, organisations and governments that defend the freedom of press to speak out against this dangerous attack on Kurdish media.”

 

Source: Firat News Agency