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Radio station suspended for six months

(RSF/IFEX) - In a letter addressed to Minister of Communications Enis Öksuz, RSF protested the "six-month suspension of radio station Özgür Radyo by the RTÜK" (Supreme Board of Radio and Television, which regulates audiovisual media). RSF asked the minister to "do everything possible to ensure that this authority ends its arbitrary targeting of audiovisual media". The organisation recalled that the radio station was previously suspended, in July and August 2000, for one year each time, bringing the length of Özgür Radyo's suspension to two and a half years. The RTÜK has suspended over twenty radio and television stations since the beginning of the year, for a total of 4215 days.

According to information collected by RSF, on 7 December, the RTÜK ordered the suspension of Istanbul radio station Özgür Radyo for six months. The station is accused of broadcasting a "defamatory" programme which "goes beyond the limits of criticism and aims to humiliate". During the broadcast of a programme on 24 July, Özgür Radyo stated that Rauf Denktash, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (RTCN, recognised only by Turkey) allegedly has "a significant real estate portfolio in the island's northern region" and receives payments from "gangs linked to prostitution".

The RTÜK previously ordered the radio station's suspension for one year on 5 July, and again on 23 August. In July, the radio station was accused of broadcasting a verse by Turkish poet Ataol Behramoglu during a programme. The radio station was accused of "inciting violence and hateful sentiments in society", in accordance with Article 4 of Law 3984. Behramoglu personally contested the decision, stating that "this verse, written thirty years ago, is published in all new editions of my books." In August, the station was suspended for broadcasting a song by the far-left group Kizilrmak on 9 July. The song paid homage to the young leaders of leftist movements in the 1970s who were killed during a police operation. Özgür Radyo, which has been forced to cease broadcasting since 31 July, has filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights.

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