In this undated pictures, photographers snap some shots in Turkey. File photo: AA
Turkish media is violating regulations, giving the ruling party astronomically more air time than opposition parties and leaving Kurdish voices off the airwaves entirely.
Turkey’s Media Communication and Postal Employees Union (HABER-SEN) recently published figures of how much time state-funded media TRT has given to each party.
Between April 1 and May 13, TRT TV gave 89 hours and 23 minutes to the ruling AKP, 7 hours and 6 minutes for the largest opposition party CHP, 28 minutes for the AKP-allied nationalists MHP, and no time at all to the pro-Kurdish HDP.
Under the Turkish constitution, state-funded media must be independent and impartial.
“The unique radio and television institution established by the State as a public corporate body and the news agencies which receive aid from public corporate bodies shall be autonomous and their broadcasts shall be impartial,” reads the constitution.
One of the principles of TRT is to “collect, pick, and publish stories in an impartial, truthful and prompt way,” the outlet states on their website.
Muharrem Ince, CHP’s presidential candidate, criticized TRT for not covering his campaign.
“Turkish media is alone in the world. There are interview requests from American, European, and Japanese TV channels… but none from TRT,” he said during a rally in Kirikkale province on Friday.
He said he regrets supporting the state-funded financially through paying bills.
TRT coincidentally went live for his rally the moment he began criticizing the channel, but quickly cut the feed.
Rudaw reached out to TRT for comment, but they were not immediately available.
The pro-Kurdish HDP said their party is being ignored by Turkish media because they are “under pressure” from the authorities.
“They do not want HDP to convey their message to the public opinion,” Adem Geveri, an outspoken HDP MP, told Rudaw English.
He pointed out that there are no Kurdish TVs in Turkey. HDP’s activities are largely covered by Kurdish networks based in Europe and the Kurdistan Region or by the party on their social media platforms.
Turkey’s media has come under fire for bias. When Dogan Media Company was sold in March to Demiroren Holding, with alleged ties to AKP, the free press monitor Reporters Without Borders slammed the move as the “death of media” in the country.
“Yesterday’s announced sale of Turkey’s biggest media group… confirms the death of media pluralism in Turkey… Dogan was the only remaining media group not to have been brought under the Turkish government’s control and its sale to Demiroren marks the end of an era,” the monitor stated at the time.