CNN Türk betrays journalistic principles - Financial Times

CNN's Turkish sister channel, CNN Türk, is under fire over accusations of bias favouring Turkey's ruling party ahead of March 31 local polls, while CNN casts itself as a defender of press freedom, Financial Times reported on Friday.

CNN Türk rejected accusations of pro-government bias and said those who criticise the Turkish channel are doing activism, not journalism, the Financial Times said. 

“Colleagues who criticise us lost their objectivity and (are) doing activism, not journalism. We deny these allegations and try to keep our unbiased and balanced position. We are fair and impartial,” CNN Türk said in a response to questions from the Financial Times.

Pro-government media conglomerate Demirören in early 2018 purchased the Doğan Media Group, which also owns CNN Türk, a move which was seen by many as a significant shift for Turkey's media landscape. Dozens of renowned journalists were fired by CNN Türk as soon as it changed hands.

"Although CNN Turk has long steered a careful course, including under its previous owner, critics allege that it has become increasingly pliant since its takeover," the Financial Times said.

Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) on March 19 urged CNN to open an investigation against its Turkish branch for censoring its reports and broadcasting false news about the party's election campaign.

CNN Türk suddenly cut a live broadcast featuring CHP's mayoral candidate for Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu, and switched to a speech by Erdoğan two weeks before the March 31 vote. The channel’s parent company, CNN, announced that it would work with CNN Türk staff to ensure the latter adhere to the U.S.-based news network’s standards.

However, CNN Türk once again made headlines when it cut an interview with İmamoğlu short, once again, earlier this week when he began talking about the lavish spending of the Istanbul municipality under the ruling party, ahead of Istanbul election rerun on June 23.