Private news channels follow state-owned TRT in unbalanced election coverage

In the absence of effective control and enforcement by Turkey's state broadcasting watchdog (RTÜK), not only state-owned TRT, but also private television channels have been giving disproportionate air time to certain political parties and presidential candidates ahead of the elections on Jun. 24, favouring the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Cumhuriyet reported on Sunday.

Between May 1-25, TRT news channel covered the election alliance of the ruling AKP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for 31 hours, 25 minutes, while allowing the CHP and its presidential candidate only 3 hours, 38 minutes airtime, according to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) representatives in RTÜK.

Other parties fared even worse. The newly established right wing İYİ Party was given only 9 minutes and 30 seconds, whilst the Islamist Felicity Party and the mainly-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party were totally ignored in TRT news coverage.

Private news channels CNN Turk and NTV were little different. During the same period, those channels devoted 70 hours, 13 minutes to the AKP-MHP alliance, while covering the CHP for only 22 hours 13 minutes.

CNN Turk, the news channel of Doğan Media Group which was sold to a pro-government conglomerate in Mar. 2018, gave no airtime to İYİ Party, while NTV allowed only 17 minutes, 22 seconds. Both television channels also gave no airtime to the Felicity Party and the HDP.