Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Nûpel; Christian Scherfig head of Danish Radio and Television Board

Nûpel is a weekly feature programme in Roj TV presented by Necat Sunar. The following interview was conducted by Sunar with Christian Scherfig head of Danish Radio and Television Board. The interview was carried out in Copenhagen on Friday 2 December. It was broadcast in Nûpel on Monday 5th of December 2005. Here is a translation of the interview from Northern Kurdish into English:

Q: What is the structure of Radio and television in Denmark, and how it works?

CS: In Denmark, there is a board with responsibility to look over the conduct of Radio and two state channels. The task of this Board is to follow the regulations directing Denmark’s radio and television state stations. At the same time one of its tasks is to regulate the broadcasting of radio and television from a legal point of view, to make sure that their contents are impartial and objective. This Board formulates the freedom of broadcasting without prejudice.

Q: When you say you are controlling the state of radio and television broadcasting, what kind of criteria do you apply the controlling procedure.

CS: We look into the impartiality and legality of the broadcasting. For us it is essential that the broadcastings be conducted in accordance with law and be impartial.

Q: Is your Board an independent body or you are affiliated to the Prime Minister Office?

CS: Principally the Board of Radio and Television is assigned to its job by the ministry of culture. However, the Board in its decisions is not dependent on Ministry of culture and acts independently. The Ministry of Culture cannot interfere in its affairs. I can say it definitely, that Ministry of Culture in no way interfere in our work and does not impose any thing on us.

Q: In Denmark; if foreign nationals want to launch a TV channel, such as ROJ TV that has obtained broadcasting licence from your Board, What are your expected requirements?

CS: There are broadcasting laws in Denmark that is all. The situation of Denmark's radio and television stations concerns this country only. Nevertheless, the case of ROJ TV must not be evaluated as the case of Denmark's radio and television stations, but due to the fact that Roj TV has obtained a license for broadcasting in Denmark, it should be dealt with as a Danish television channel and it should conduct accordingly.

Q: What are those regulations?

CS: I can say that generally they are the regulations applied to the Denmark's radio and TV channels.

Q: OK, Turkish government complained to you over ROJ TV's
broadcasting. What do you think about that?

CS: I can say as an example, the Turkish Embassy in Denmark told us that ROJ TV publicises the internal situation in Turkey as civil war, and it is not right, they also claim it supports PKK.

Q: OK, What was your response to the complaints of Turkish Embassy?

CS: Turkish Embassy provided us with footages and news, which had been broadcast by Roj TV. They had concretely translated the news of ROJ TV and gave them to us. We as the Board of Denmark’s radio and television considered their complaints and controlled the material. After controlling the footages and the contents of the news items, we concluded that the news broadcast by ROJ TV was impartial and objective.

Moreover, we concluded that the Roj TV’s news broadcast were as Denmark's radio television stations impartial. We also notified Turkish
Embassy that if they are not satisfied with other broadcasting of ROJ TV and if they claim the station is supporting PKK they can lodge a complain again. However, they should present evidence concretely.

Q: How many programmes and materials produced by ROJ TV, have been until now controlled by you?

CS: I can say Turkish embassy had lodged a general complaint, but
concretely they had just translated a news programme, and we for our part
translated that programme and controlled that .

Q: Ok ! After that, have you got any new complaint from Turkish Embassy?

CS: No. I can say after that the Turkish embassy has not lodged any open complain to us. But As far as we have been informed by press, the Turkish government in level of prime minister has complained to our prime minister
Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Q: OK, is some one at this level can interfere in Board’s operation from outside, influence its affairs, and expose their will?

CS: I can say, that judiciary could review all decisions taken by our board. Now there is a complain brought up to the attention of Denmark's police authority concerning the financial situation of ROJ TV, and Police is
investigating that thoroughly. We are not involved in that, we are doing our job by monitoring the broadcasting and until now, there has been one complaint, and after controlling it, we came to conclusion that Roj TV has not breached regulations covering the conduct of radio and television.

Q: The question is; if Danish police ask you for information in this case?

CS: I want to retreat once more that we have nothing to do with the question of ROJ TV's financial resources. This is not our task. We are just
monitoring the broadcasting and programmes. It is not easy and not normal that we should be involved with such processes and interfere with police work.

Q: As far as it has come out in the press, this issue has turned into a political one, after the presumed pressure from America it has become a political issue. What can you say on that?

CS: I say again that we have nothing to do with that. The only thing
that we do is, when there is a complaint we control the programmes. The political aspects of the issue and police investigation are not our issues.

Q: Ok, In the face of such interference which come from outside what
is the reaction of Board of radio and television, or what kind of position it takes?

CS: For Instance , any kind of position that we take in the case of Denmark's radio and Television stations, it would be the same for ROJ TV. Our positions concerning programming of radio and TV stations must be objective. The important thing for us is when a complaint is put before us; we should take an impartial and objective position.

Q: It is quite a while that ROJ TV under the umbrella of Mesopotamia Broadcast has obtained a license and makes its programming, According to you why it has become a focus of attention in such a short time, in
another word, how this question have drown your attention?

CS: I have no answer to this question. It does not concern me.

Q: The Turkish government wants to join EU, but its position concerning free press is not in accordance of EU's values, how do you evaluate that?

CS: Also in this regards, the Board as a body has nothing to say, and I
as a person cannot speak in the name of the Board on political issues.

Q: Does your Board get necessary support from Denmark's public opinion? European Parliament supported the stand of Prime Minister Rasmussen.

CS: Generally I can say, when this issue was brought to our attention,
we as other issues took a right decision about that. Every issue is evaluated from opposite positions, and both sides want the decisions to be taken in a way to meet their demands. It is not possible that both sides to be satisfied about a decision. We consider all issues who are brought to our attention from a legal and lawful point of view; I believe we do our job correctly.

Q: How do you evaluate the works of ROJ TV? Do you hold any view about the works of ROJ TV?

CS: I cannot say any thing about ROJ TV or other TV stations, the important thing for us is that ROJ TV and other channels, broadcast according to the broadcasting regulations and according to the law.

Q: It seems that from now on, you monitor ROJ TV more. Do you think that ROJ TV is observing the broadcasting regulations?

CS: As I said a while ago, we are not meddling in the works of ROJ TV, but we monitor the content of its programming impartiality. We are a neutral body, there has been no pressure exerted on us by ministry of culture or any other body and they have not asked us anything. Our job is to consider applications thoroughly, and to be objective.


e-mail: rtv@mediesekretariatet.dk