Kurdish Medya TV Shuts Down
February 13, 2004
Text of press statement in English by the Geneva-based Kurdish Centre for Human Rights on 13 February
The transmission licence of Medya TV, which had been broadcasting since 30 July 1999, has been revoked by CSA, (the French Licensing Authority), on the grounds that it was the successor organization to Med TV. The station's lawyers appealed against the decision, but this morning [13 February] the French Appeal Court confirmed the decision of the CSA. News of the judgement was given to the Paris office of Medya TV today.
Together with the judgement, an order from the Appeal Court was served on ABSAT, the satellite operator, instructing it to cease transmission immediately. The broadcaster was thus immediately silenced without even the chance to make a statement to its audience.
It seems that all Kurdish institutions and organizations can expect to be banned, as their development interferes with the interests of certain circles. While in Turkey legal political parties like HEP, DEP and HADEP, and newspapers, magazines and civil society organizations are constantly being shut down, this is the second time that Kurdish TV has been silenced via the courts in Europe. Not long ago at Turkey's behest the Kurdish People's Congress (KONGRA-GEL) was put by the USA on to its list of terrorist organizations. For five years Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan has been held on the prison island of Imrali, and this too has been done with the active complicity of the West. It is true that formally the death sentence on him has been lifted, but to the eyes of the public an execution is being carried out by inches.
This short list should be sufficient to show the international dimensions to this repression that the Kurdish people are subjected to.
Disagreeable questions also arise from observation of the fact that the decision to close down Medya TV was made just before the anniversary of the international conspiracy against Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan (15 February), as well as the local elections in Turkey on 28 March and in the context of the latest efforts to solve the Cyprus question. A legitimate suspicion arises that the decision was a political one and not a legal one.
How credible can any efforts for a solution in South Kurdistan be, when every effort towards democratic opening up and institution building in the Turkish part of Kurdistan, which has the largest Kurdish population, is nipped in the bud? For years the Kurdish people's most basic rights have been sacrificed by the West for its own political and economic interests and today we are confronted by this sharp reality yet again. These decisions only assist in the policy of denial of the Kurdish people.
Medya TV was broadcasting to 77 different countries and was the voice of the Kurdish people and indeed of all peoples of the Middle East. In addition to the three main Kurdish dialects, programmes were also put out in Turkish, and Arabic. The cultural, social and political programmes enjoyed support from the Turkish and Arabic people as well as from the Kurdish people.
We support the statement made by the management of the broadcasting company that the closing down of Medya TV infringes human rights as well as restricting broadcasting freedom. We therefore call on all people who believe in democracy to protest against this decision. The voices that support freedom, peace and democracy cannot be silenced by political decisions.
Source: Geneva-based Kurdish Centre for Human Rights in English 13 Feb 04 (BBCM Feb 13, 2004)