Thursday, October 19, 2006

Roj TV Shine

10/15/2006 - By Kameel Ahmady

Recent political events along with turkeys negotiation and arms dealing with US in relation to the ''War on Terror'' brought ROJ TV (SUN-TV) once again under pressure from turkey. While Turkey did not move forward on its promises to EU in relation with improving human rights and freedom of press it's also rejected the offered unilateral ceasefire.

Now the Turkish Government has start it blocking viewers in some parts of Turkey's Kurdistan from watching the Kurdish television station, ROJ TV and it continues to block signals in more areas main land turkey. Such move represents another grave potential threat to freedom speech and to expression of ethnic minority and identity in Turkey and the world of free media.

Turkey has long campaigned to close down ROJ TV within EU and has applied pressure on Denmark, by whom the TV is licensed up to a point that brought shame upon the Turkish Government when Danish PM Rasmussen lectured Turkish PM Erdogan on press freedom after he failed to attend a press conference in Copenhagen because ROJ TV's journalist was due to attuned, saying that "Turkey has to realise that there are some very specific conditions that need to be fulfilled if Turkey wants to become an EU member one day, and one of them is respecting freedom of press and freedom of expression."

There is been further embarrassment for turkey this week when Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's best-known novelist, who faced trial this year for insulting his country, won the 2006 Nobel prize for literature from a Swedish Academy, and add on to the pain and Turkey's fury, the French lower house of parliament approved a bill making it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide. Pamuk was tried for insulting "Turkishness" after telling a Swiss paper last year that one million Armenians had died in Turkey during World War One and 30 000 Kurds had perished in recent decades.

Such development can be seen as a test case for freedom of speech in Turkey, but in another front turkey continues to ignore the basic rights of the Kurdish people and their rights of access to free media and try to justify all actions as ''war on Terror'' While turkey's state terrorism in Kurdistan continues.

ROJ TV for Kurds in Kurdistan and exile is not viewed as only news source, for them the TV represent home and one free big family. The same time as a forum for the expression of ideas about Kurdish identity as well as a means to voice political debates and discussion, its represents platforms for Kurdish movement, something that turkey dose not allow the Kurds to practice in turkey. Such restrictions on ROJ TV will make many thousand homeless in Kurdistan, those who has no voice of theirs in Kurdistan. ROJ has brought sense of identity and belongings to Kurds and some may wonder how and why the free world should turn a blind eye to very principle that they protect and respect or their own citizens.

ROJ TV has also played an important role in empowering younger generations of Kurds throughout of the Diaspora and homeland, keeping them in touch with each other and with their unique heritage. It has supported the career development of many successful artists, musicians and film-makers, and renewed a sense of pride in the contributions of the Kurds to many world cultures around the world. It provides them with positive role models and a means of education regarding the positions and activities, to say nothing of keeping people abreast of events in the Middle East.

Further, ROJ TV has provided a means of contact and a voice for those Kurds in places like Syria and the former Soviet Union as well as Iranian and Iraqi Kurdistan, who would not otherwise have any connection to Kurds in other regions, due to the isolation and repression they suffer in their home communities. It is a sole means of informing people about events taking place across borders, not only the Kurds but those who participate in their struggle, and in the general struggle for peaceful solutions to the issues facing the Middle East generally.

The threat ROJ TV is face with by looking at recent political climates and significant damage to formation of identify and image and meaning of freedom of media also by drawing a parallel between the opportunities and constraints of human mobility and border controls with those on political ideas but freedom of expression in the 21st century's world of digital media which dose not recognise border controls and scope of a satellite broadcast, which cant be restricts a specific geographical area, and that's here Amir Hassanpour's quote nicely applies that ''Kurdish TV gave sovereignty to the Kurds in the sky'' . So giving such factors, the Kurds and the free loving world can say to Turkey that: your threat to block the Kurdish TV once again would be a failure.

No matter how dark the night is, ROJ always starts shining the next day

Kameel Ahmady maintains a website at:


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