Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Voice of the Kurds

Jyllands-Posten: November 23, 2005

A few days ago Roj TV was almost unknown in Denmark. Today Turkey and the USA are demanding that Denmark take steps against the Kurdish TV Station. Roj TV denies all accusations of ties to terror organisations.

Freedom of Speech

by Peter Kronsted

"Danimaca." The subtitle in the news feature cannot be misunderstood. The top news story from today's news on Roj TV is about the Kurdish TV station itself.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Per Stig Møller (Conservatives) is quoted as saying that he will not interfere in the police's investigation into whether the Kurdish TV station receives money from the forbidden PKK, as the USA and Turkey claim.

In front of the TV, around the coffee table in the lounge area of Roj TV in Copenhagen on H.C. Andersens Boulevard all are nodding in recognition of Per Stig Møller's statement.

A few days ago there weren't that many people in Denmark who knew about Roj TV - except of course the Turkish Embassy, who in the spring accused the station of being a voice for terrorists – and Kurds living in Denmark, who receive the programs via satellite discs or cable from TDC (Danish Cable and Telephone Company).

And of course also Copenhagen's Police department, who have been watching and listening to programs in Kurmanci, Sorani, and Zazaki in their hunt for the assumed ties to terrorists, on the request of the PET(Danish Intelligence Agency). The investigation is finished and is now under "legal evaluation," before the conclusion is sent to The Minister of Justice Lene Espersen (Conservatives).

Surprising Exit

But last week the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with his surprising exit from Anders Fogh Rasmussen's press conference, made sure that Roj TV, despite the Danish local elections, was all over the front pages of the newspapers and later on the airwaves in Europe and the USA.

At the press conference TV people from the governmental Turkish network TRT, realized that the female journalist Senem Güneser from Roj TV was in the room. This was passed on to Erdogan, and he therefore refused to be in the same room with a "PKK representative."

"It is good that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Per Stig Møller is also saying stop, and is not running to follow Minister of Justice, Cemil Cicek's command, because he is putting more pressure on Denmark.," says Roj TV's station leader and director Manouchehr Tahsili Zonoozi.

"Denmark is a role model for us. Kurds have been fleeing, tortured and persecuted for a generation," says Zonoozi, who has himself grown up in and fled from Iran , and was granted asylum in Denmark in 1983. He participated in founding the broadcasting company in Denmark in 1999.

Guarantor for Freedom of Speech.

"For us, Denmark is like heaven compared to what the Kurdish people know. Denmark is a guarantor for freedom of speech," he says.

That freedom of speech also includes Roj TV and the other media companies that are related to Mesopotamia Broadcast is incontestable, says Manouchehr Tahsili Zonoozi.

"Even if we are fighting for Kurdish rights and are a platform for news that are of interest for Kurds all over the world. Freedom of speech bears the responsibility of being objective," says Manouchehr Tahsili Zonoozi. That the station has reports from war actions where Kurdish guerrillas have been involved is due journalistic skills, he emphasizes.

"Would you also forbid CNN or BBC when they send reports from rebel groups activities?," is his answer, and he continues:

"We have put everything out in the open for the police. We have nothing to hide. We are only interested in justice," he says.

The latest accusation against Roj TV is that money from PKK is allegedly financing programming. Roj TV does not have studios in Denmark, but transmits from Bruxelles to the whole world via satellite.

"There isn't anything to look for. Of course we receive money from cultural organisations and Kurds who collect money in support of our struggle for freedom of speech and human rights; but that isn't illegal," says Manouchehr Tahsili Zonoozi.


Post a Comment

<< Home