Turkey’s media watchdog revokes radio station’s license over genocide remembrance broadcast / BIANET

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Açık Radyo was penalized over a guest’s remarks that  « 109th anniversary of the massacres and deportations, referred to as genocide, that took place on Ottoman lands. »

Bianet English, July 3, 2024

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has revoked the license of the independent radio station Açık Radyo. The decision comes after the station was penalized for a broadcast that mentioned the Armenian genocide on April 24, marked as the remembrance day for the genocide.

The cancellation of the license was based on the station’s failure to comply with previous sanctions imposed by RTÜK, which included administrative fines and a five-day suspension of broadcasts. Despite paying the fines, Açık Radyo continued its broadcasts, which RTÜK deemed a violation of the conditions set forth in the sanctions.

Sources from Açık Radyo told bianet that they have filed a lawsuit to halt the execution of the first penalty, indicating that RTÜK imposed the fine without awaiting the court’s decision.

RTÜK member İlhan Taşçı publicly criticized the decision, stating, « The reason given is the station’s non-compliance with a previous five-day suspension order for inciting hatred and hostility. However, the broadcaster had paid the fine but did not cease broadcasting. This situation should have been interpreted in favor of the broadcaster. »

Commenting for bianet, former RTÜK member Faruk Bildirici criticized the council’s decision, calling it the « government’s tool » and an « enemy of freedom of thought and media. » He said, « They have become increasingly reckless and ruthless towards those who do not think like them. Açık Radyo is one of the few stations where enlightened individuals of this country can express their thoughts and reach the public.

« Canceling its license for a fixable technical reason is like issuing a death warrant. The program suspension penalty given to Açık Radyo is also unjust, baseless, and aimed at preventing the expression of diverse opinions. »


The incident that led to the revocation occurred during Açık Radyo‘s program « Açık Gazete » on April 24, where a guest mentioned the « 109th anniversary of the massacres and deportations, referred to as genocide, that took place on Ottoman lands. » RTÜK initially responded with an administrative fine and a five-day broadcast suspension, citing the broadcast as incitement to hatred and hostility.

Following the penalty, Açık Radyo issued a statement, arguing that the program could not be construed as inciting hatred or hostility: « The evaluations in the decision are not acceptable in line with universal law and journalistic principles. There is no expression in the program in question that exceeds the limits of freedom of expression and thought. 

“When evaluating both the expressions subject to the decision and the entire program, there is no aspect contrary to universal journalistic principles. Moreover, the program cannot possibly incite hatred and hostility or create feelings of hatred in society. » 

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