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Gün TV in Diyarbakir barred from broadcasting news programme for six days

(BIANET/IFEX) - The Gün TV channel in Diyarbakir province has been barred from broadcasting its 7:30 p.m. news programme for six days after it was accused by the provincial election board of favouring the Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) on its channel. Gün TV is a local television station which broadcasts in the southeastern province and surrounding area.

Gün TV producer Diren Keser appealed the decision, which was announced by the local election board on 11 March 2009, but the ban was confirmed by the provincial election board on 14 March.

The decision cited article 4 of law 3984 on radio and TV institutions and broadcasts, which says that broadcasts must provide equality of opportunity to all political parties and democratic groups, must not broadcast one-sided programmes and must not violate certain broadcasting limitations in pre-election periods.

The suspension was implemented on 15 March and the main news programme will not be broadcast until 21 March.

The decision by the local election board was signed by board president Oktay Kuban and two civil servant members, as well as a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a member of the Democrat Party (DP), and a member of the Republican People's Party (CHP).

The board decision claims that Gün TV was favouring the DTP by reporting on municipalities run by members of that party, and thus not obeying the principle of neutrality.

The file sent by the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) was evaluated by the local election board, which reported that it could not find violations in the nine days that the file mentioned, but that during the six days of 3 to 10 February, laws 3983 and 298 and decree 336 of the Supreme Election Board had been violated.

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