Turkey’s state-run broadcaster favors ruling party in elections coverage

Turkey's state television channel, TRT, has been giving disproportionate air time to the alliance of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in the lead-up to March 31 local elections, opposition daily Birgün reported on Monday.

In February, TRT news channel aired coverage of the AKP-MHP alliance for 53 hours and 30 minutes, while giving the opposition alliance, including the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Good Party (İYİ Parti), 6 hours and 42 minutes of airtime, according to the daily.

The Turkish state’s overwhelming control of the country’s press and television news outlets, particularly following the July 2016 coup attempt, has been one of the leading objections directed at the country.

This is not the first time TRT has been criticised for disproportionate coverage ahead of elections. Before the June 2018 vote, TRT and private TV channels were rebuked for extensively favouring the ruling party and its presidential candidate, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in the absence of effective control by Turkey's state broadcasting watchdog (RTÜK).