20 February 1997 Edition

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MED-TV beams on

The Kurdish satellite channel, MED-TV, is again coming under fire from the Turkish government. In its latest attempt to suppress the two-year old station's broadcasts, the Turkish state has banned the sale of satellite dishes.

This followed publication of a secret report of the Turkish National Security Council planning the obstruction and suppression of all publications and broadcasts deemed to be supportive of the PKK. The pro-Kurdish daily newspaper Demokrasi is to be closed within three months under the latest censorship moves.

MED-TV, licensed and based in London, has come under Turkish fire because it rejects censorship and one-sided reporting of the war in Kurdistan. But MED is also a target because it has become a key symbol of Kurdish political and cultural identity, presenting programmes in the Kurdish language, which is officially prohibited in Turkey.

The Turkish regime has allies in its efforts to suppress MED. Poland, Portugal, France and Germany have already tried to interfere with the channel's broadcasts and in September 1996, police raided MED-TV offices in London and Brussels. Despite all the obstruction though, MED-TV beams on, broadcasting multi-lingual programmes to 34 countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

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