Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Little Station with Millions of Viewers

Politiken (Danish Newspaper) November 11, 2005

The Kurdish TV Station Roj TV denies any ties to PKK.

By Hans Drachmann

Every day Roj TV sends news, debates, entertainment, movies, and children's programs in Kurdish to 28 million Kurds in 77 countries.

The Danish headquarters are situated in the middle of H.C. Andersens Boulevard a few hundred meters from the Copenhagen Police precinct. The director tells us that about 20 people work here. Many of them travel around as correspondents, while 8 people have there permanent base in the very large apartment.

"We are glad that we have built this TV station in a country that respects freedom of speech," says Manouchehr Tahsili Zonoozi, who is director of the company Mesopotamia Broadcast A/S that runs Roj TV.

He is himself an Iranian Kurd, and came to Denmark as a refugee in 1983. And he was in the group that in 1999 was behind the founding of the broadcasting company in Denmark.

"The TV station was established, because there was a need for it. It is a democratic channel in a democratic country."

The opening of the broadcasting company was made official on June 17, 2000 with a reception at the Søpavillionen (Lake Pavilion), former Prime Minister Anker Jørgensen gave a speech and was elected as honorary president.

Roj TV rents services from production companies when it needs to produce programs. Zonoozi says that the station also has production houses in Sweden, Germany , and Belgium.

It costs money to run a station like Roj TV, but the director prefers not to say how much. In the annual statements sent to Erhvervs – og Selkabsstyrelsen (Board of Business and Companies) only a gross income is given, which is the amount of income that is left after a number of costs are deducted.

In their last financial statement Mesopotamia Broadcast A/S paid 765.000 DDK in wages and had a profit of 61.000 DDK.

Zonoozi informs us that the company makes its money from advertisements and commercials on TV, and also receives money from different foundations in Europe. Among these is the Kurdisk Kulturfond (Kurdish Cultural Foundation).

He totally denies that Roj TV or the company Mesopotamia Broadcast A/S receives any donations from the Kurdish organisation PKK.

"We have no ties to PKK. We have no ties to any political parties. We are totally independent. But we Kurds are always linked to PKK," says Manouchehr Zonoozi.

He is "not at all nervous" about the outcome of the investigation the Copenhagen Police have finished, and he ensures that incitements to hate and terror do not take place on ROJ TV.

"We have very clear lines that we operate within. We show pictures from the war that is taking place, but we show the situation from both sides," says Manouchehr Zonoozi.


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