May 18 2018

Turkish state media accidentally broadcasts criticism of itself

In the midst of a Turkish election campaign in which calls have been made for state television channel TRT’s bosses to be prosecuted for their disproportionate coverage of the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, TRT broadcast a minute of live footage from a rally by main opposition candidate Muharrem İnce.

Unfortunately, TRT picked a time when he was just about to begin criticising the channel.

“The Turkish media is alone in the world,” İnce said at his rally in the western province of Kırklareli.

“Television channels from America, Europe and Japan – Japan! – are today asking for interviews. They are in France, they are in Germany. They are from all over the world… But not from TRT.”

İnce said that he would begrudge TRT the money he paid towards the channel as a compulsory part of his electricity bill.

The incident comes after a prominent media figure called for TRT bosses to be prosecuted for breaking electoral laws through the channel’s pro-government coverage.

“If you look at how much time TRT gave the (main) opposition, it was just three hours, while the (ruling) Justice and Development Party (AKP) got 28 hours, the (nationalist) Good Party got 19 minutes, and the (Islamist) Felicity Party and (pro-Kurdish) Peoples’ Democratic Party got no coverage at all,” Merdan Yanardağ, the editor-in-chief of ABC Gazetesi and Tele1 TV, said.

“This is against the law and TRT directors must be prosecuted.”