Monday, January 23, 2012

Kurds in Paris protest the suspension of Kurdish TV by Eutelsat

ERBIL, Jan. 22  – Hundreds of Kurds in the French capital took to the streets on Sunday to protest Paris-based TV satellite operator Eutelsat's decision stop carrying the broadcasts of Copenhagen-based Kurdish TV station Roj TV on the grounds that a Danish court found it guilty of supporting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed separatist group regarded by Turkey as a "terrorist" organization.

On January 10, a Danish court found Roj TV guilty of supporting the PKK between 2008 and 2010 and imposed a 400,000 euroes fine but refrained from order its closure which the Turkish authorities have been seeking since the establishment in 2004.

The French media reported that the protesters who gathered outside Eutelsat headquarters in Paris accused the management of the satellite services provider of collusion with Turkey to silence Kurdish voices. Some of the Protesters chanted slogans "Sarkozy is a partner of the fascist Erdogan"

The protesters repeatedly defended ROJ TV as the "voice of the Kurdish people"

The Eutelsat decision has been criticized the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) as an "outrageous decision violating freedom of expression".

"From China to Iran and Saudi Arabia, Eutelset has already shown its lack of regard for freedom of information. Now it is helping to promote an 'anti-terrorist' rhetoric with broader political implications. This is a favorite argument that repressive regimes use to justify their media freedom violations. It is also the pretext Turkey used to jail 30 journalists a month ago. Is the French government, a shareholder in Eutelsat, ready to take responsibility for this decision?" RSF said.

PKK is an armed that has been fighting the Turkish state since its establishment in 1984. The fighting has caused more than 40,000 lives most of them Kurds.

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