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The “No” campaign was “nearly invisible” on television programs: Turkey

The United for Democracy Group (DIB) published a deeply worrying report about access to information for the upcoming referendum in Turkey. The report concludes that the “No” campaign was “nearly invisible” on television programs during the period they collected the data.

The group conducted research for the media access of different political groups in March 2017. Reviewing the time allotted on the news, live broadcasts and interviews with the representatives of the four parties represented in the parliament -AKP, MHP, CHP and HDP- and the President on 17 national channels over 20 days, the Group concluded that a disproportionate amount of time allocated to the “Yes” proponents.

The United for Democracy Group reported that “the opposition is ignored even on the [publicly owned] TRT1, which by law has to designate equal time to all political groups. The news about the President, his advisors and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) took up to three hours a day on the state-run station. A publicly funded television station is being turned into a broadcasting organ of the government” while the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was not allotted any time on the live broadcasts and news programs on any of the national television channels, including TRT.

The Group reports that during the live shows between 01-20 March 2017: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on for 169, AKP for 301.5 and MHP for 15.5 hours, while the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) was on live television for 45.5 hours. Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) did not receive any screen time.

The report details that during the period March 1-10 news item about the President was broadcasted for 53.5, AKP 83 and MHP for 14,5 hours while about CHP for 17 hours and about HDP for only 33 minutes.

The Decree No. 687 published in February following the July 15 Coup attempt in Turkey, abolished the ‘Law on Basic Provisions of Elections and Voter Registration.’ The overturned law stipulated suspending the broadcast and issuing monetary penalties when a TV or radio station is “broadcasting in violation of the principles, including the principle of equality.”

The United for Democracy (DIB) is an independent democracy platform with broad participation of more than 100 organization, platform, initiative and institutions. DIB discloses on its website that they have no political affiliations.

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