Turkey has ordered the closure of 20 television and radio stations, including one that airs children’s programmes, on charges they spread “terrorist propaganda”, adding to fears that emergency rule is being used to stifle the media, Reuters reports.
President Tayyip Erdogan has said he wants a three-month state of emergency, imposed after a failed coup attempt in July, to be prolonged past October so authorities can eradicate the threat posed by a religious movement blamed for the attempt, as well as Kurdish militants who have waged a 32-year insurgency.
The banned channels are owned or operated by Kurds or the Alevi religious minority, according to Hamza Aktan, news editor at IMC TV, a news broadcaster slated for closure. He cited a copy of the decision obtained by his channel, which was based on powers given the government in a decree issued in July.
“This has nothing to do with the coup. It is an effort to silence the last independent media covering the Kurdish issue and violations committed by the state,” Aktan told Reuters.
IMC has aired reports looking at security forces’ conduct during 14 months of military operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has killed thousands.
Among the 12 shuttered television channels are Govend TV, which plays folk music, and Zarok TV, which airs Kurdish-language children’s cartoons. The decision also shut 11 radio stations for harming national security, Aktan said.
“Turkey is targeting a wide swath of cultural and political expression by shuttering minority broadcasters,” Robert Mahoney of the Committee to Protect Journalists said. “When the government sees even children’s programming as a threat to national security, it is clearly abusing its emergency powers.”