Friday, September 19, 2008

Turkey’s state TV to broadcast in Kurdish, Persian, Arabic in March

From Media News:

Ibrahim Sahin, Director General of the state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), said a new TV station in Kurdish, Persian and Arabic will start broadcasting in March of next year. Sahin said the Kurdish station will use the Hot Bird satellite, which is used by Roj TV, a popular regional station that authorities regard as a mouthpiece for the PKK. TRT's Kurdish station will be available not only in the mainly Kurdish Southeast but also in Iraq, Iran and the European states where Kurds reside. Observers say the latest move is an attempt to attract viewers away from Denmark-based Roj TV. Kurdish critics say the TRT's allocation of a station for Kurdish-language broadcasting will prove beneficial for social unity. However, they also noted it should be well designed so as not to allow any room for bureaucratic manoeuvring. Parliament passed a bill at the end of May allowing the TRT to broadcast programmes in languages other than Turkish. State broadcaster TRT began airing weekly 30-minute programmes in Kurdish and several other minority languages in 2004 as part of Turkey's bid to join the European Union. But the Turkish political and military establishment has long feared that encouraging minority languages might harm the unity among Turkey's 72 million people. Sahin said there is a high demand in Arab countries for Arabic and Persian broadcasts from Turkey. With its Persian station, Turkey will reach at least 20 million Azerbaijanis living in Iran, Sahin added. (Today's Zaman via Media Network Weblog)

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