Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Danish resistance,Turkish anger in row over ROJ TV

News Diplomacy

Danish resistance, Turkish anger in row over Roj TV
A major crisis is likely to soon erupt over the refusal of Danish authorities to revoke the broadcasting license of Roj TV -- the Denmark-based TV network - despite insistent efforts on the part of Ankara towards that goal.
In response to diplomatic pressure from Turkey, the Danish government, citing broadcasting principles, has refused to sign the European Convention on Transfrontier Television and has also rejected Turkey's offer to sign a bilateral agreement on trans-border broadcasting. Although it is possible to shut down Roj TV through a bilateral agreement between the two countries, recent information reveals that the Danish government has long been ignoring Turkey's proposal.
In November 2005 Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan angrily boycotted a news conference with Danish Premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen to protest the presence of Roj TV reporters in the room, but the Danish premier defended their presence, saying there was extensive freedom of the press in his country. While Turkey's diplomatic act to make a point about the PKK's European arms was well received in Germany, the UK and France at certain points, Denmark has been resisting making any move in response to demands made by Turkey.
RTÜK: Nothing we can do
The Roj TV crisis between Turkey and Denmark is going deeper, according to head of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) Zahit Akman, who replied to a question on the subject raised by Republican People's Party's (CHP) Ordu deputy Sami Tandoğdu. Akman stated that Roj TV was an international broadcasting agency, which means that the procedure to ban Roj TV broadcasts and enforce penalties has to be done according to international law. "Roj TV broadcasts from Denmark, and its broadcasting license is also from Denmark. Since Denmark is not a party to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, launching an initiative to stop Roj TV broadcasts under the provisions of that agreement is out of question."
Akman also stressed that Denmark has rejected all proposals from Turkey to sign a bilateral agreement on transfrontier broadcasts. "The European Convention on Transfrontier Television regulates transborder TV broadcasts across Europe. The right to broadcasting and broadcast-relay of any television station cannot be restricted unless one of the conditions violates the European Convention on Human Rights. The convention on transfrontier television authorizes states to decide on the limits of the freedom to broadcast. A provision in the convention stipulates that freedom of expression and the freedom to news and information can be utilized only within certain conditions and restrictions."
Following Akman's reply, the CHP's Tandoğdu criticized Denmark for being two-faced. "The definition of terrorism, and the treatment of terrorism by European countries that speak of human rights and freedom of opportunity, is nothing but hypocrisy. Europe continues to pay lip service to terrorists. Only when terrorism hits them, they know very well to suspend human rights and freedoms if required. Denmark's refusal to sign the Convention on Transfrontier Television in spite of the fact that all countries have done so is not something that we can explain by goodwill. Countries that have a two-faced treatment of terrorism will pay for that eventually. Freedom to broadcast cannot be an excuse to allow Roj TV broadcasting. Denmark should change this attitude immediately."


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