Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Political rebound in strife regarding TV-station

Political rebound in strife regarding TV, English version of an article in Danish language paper "Berlingske Tidende" 20.december 2005
By Ole Damkjær, , 20. december 2005

The demand by the Turkish government that the Kurdish TV-station Roj-TV be closed down is politically motivated, it is claimed by critics of Turkey. What are we saying then when Danish Politicians interfere with the police investigation relating to the TV-station ?

Now that the police has passed the case regarding the Kurdish TV-Station Roj-TV to the Public Prosecutor in order to have the investigation brought to an end reach a conclusion as to wether Roj-TV should be prosecuted for having links to the Kurdish organization PKK, this complex case is becoming a domestic political issue

The four opposition politicians Jeppe Kofod (Social Democrat), Naser Khader (Radical), Holger K. Nielsen (Popular Socialist), and Rune Lund (The Red-Green Alliance) in a letter to their 179 fellow parliamentarians call upon them to sign a declaration in support of the freedom of expression of the Roj-TV. And by doing so they interfere in an "untimely manner" with the work of the police and the authority of the law-courts in case the Public prosecutor concludes that there is a basis for further legal action and a charge against Roj-TV.

This is the opinion of the spokesman of the Liberal Party (Venstre), Troels Lund Poulsen who is backed up by the Turkish ambassador and Henning Koch who is a professor of Constitutional Law and an expert in matters related to the tripartition of power in the legislative, the executive, and the judicial authorities.

Henneing Koch also points to the fact that the four politicians with their support action interfere with the authority of the Minister of Justice since in matters like the one regarding Roj-TV in the end it is Lene Espersen (Minister of Justice) and the rest of the government who decide whether a case shall be brought before a court . According to Henning Koch the four politicians have embarked on a perilous course. "They are trying to create a climate in Parliament against a charge being made in a specific case. Has thought been given to a possible following case where the four politicians' adverisaries might try to advocate a charge being made in a specific case ?" asks Henning Koch who labels the initiative in support of Roj-TV as "political bantering at a high level".

It is being pretendet to convey the impression that the government might opt for yielding to Turkey and lining up with the USA. Maybe it is most of all an attempt at demasking yet another time the USA", says Henning Koch with a reference to the fact that the declaration of support in favour of Roj-TV is aimed at backing up the Danish government so that it "does not give in to pressures from the Turkish and American governments that Roj-TV be closed down".

The USA in a confidential note to the (Danish) government has keenly called upon Denmark to close the Roj-TV station in Denmark because the TV-station, according to the Americans, has links to the Kurdish organization PKK which has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the USA and the EU as well.

The Social Democratic Spokesman for international affairs, Jeppe Kofod declines this allegation. "I considered myself the dilemma that might occur if the declaration of support could be interpreted as if we mix up the legislative, the executive and the judicial powers. But we do not do that. We have found a wording that leaves no space open for that", says Jeppe Kofod.

But the declaration of support relates to the case regarding Roj-TV ?

"Yes, but what is preoccupying are the accelerating attacks against the Kurds' right to have access to getting information in their own language. What we fear is an ongoing pressure against the Kurds right now – and this pressure has been intensified over the latest few months. This declaration is based upon our wish to make sure that no campaign be unleashed against legally existing media aimed at undermining the freedom of expression. Actually this declaration is not so much in support of Roj-TV as in support of the (Danish) government's refusal of others' interference in this matter", says Jeppe Kofod.

Is this not a reflection of your distrust of the government's capability of resisting the pressure from Turkey but also from the USA ?"The government must know that it has a broad backing behind the course it has opted for in this matter", says Jeppe Kofod.