80 journalists fired from Bugun, Kanalturk in new wave of dismissals

Eighty more journalists working for the Bugandun and Kanaltandurk TV stations were fired after the channels were dropped by the state-owned Turkish Satellite Communications Company (Tandurksat) from its infrastructure in a government-orchestrated crackdown on critical media late on Monday.
Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk were removed from the platform after a total of 13 TV channels and radio stations, including Samanyolu TV, Mehtap TV, S Haber and Radio Cihan that are critical of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) were dropped as of midnight on Saturday in a severe blow to the already deteriorating press freedoms in Turkey.
Following a court decision to seize Koza ipek Holding and appoint pro-government trustees to take over management of its companies on Oct. 26, police entered the ipek Media Groupand’s headquarters in Istanbul on Oct. 28, whereupon they took the Kanaltandurk and Bugandun TV channels and the Kanaltandurk radio station temporarily off the air.
The trustees then took over management of the Bugandun and Millet dailies, as well as Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk, following the police intervention, during which many journalists and protesters were subjected to excessive police force.
The trustees managing Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk, which turned into government mouthpieces following their appointment, decided to end the programs aired on the TV channels following Tandurksatand’s controversial move and fired 80 people who worked in the preparation of those programs.
Manduge Daiistanli and Gandulien Yanduksel, who had been the hosts of a magazine program on Kanaltandurk weekdays since 2007, announced their dismissal from their joint Twitter account on Tuesday.
andquotOur aenture at Kanaltandurk where we worked with peace and pleasure for eight-and-a-half years ended today. We thank everyone who contributed and watched our program. See you,andquot the women said.
Earlier this month, more than 50 journalists at the ipek Media Group including senior administrators were dismissed by the panel of trustees.
The move attracted widespread criticism from press organizations which vowed to stand up for the rights of the dismissed journalists.
The Bugandun TV, Kanaltandurk, Shaber and Samanyolu channels have become targets of the governmentand’s crackdown because they are seen as affiliated with the Gandulen or Hizmet movement, a grassroots social initiative inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gandulen. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses the movement of instigating the massive corruption probes of Dec. 17 and 25, 2013, which implicated ministers in his government and even some of his family members, as part of a plot to overthrow the government despite a denial from the movement.
In a similar vein, in early October, the Digiturk satellite network announced that it had stopped broadcasting the aforementioned TV stations in addition to the Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk TV channels, following a request from a prosecutor.
Turkcell TV+, an online TV streaming service from Internet provider Superonline, and Tivibu, another service provided by TTNet, previously announced that they had removed the stations in question from their platforms on the order of the Ankara Public Prosecutorand’s Office, on the suspicion that the channels were supporting a terrorist organization.
In the meantime, the panel of trustees appointed to the ipek Media Group appointed pro-government Takvim dailyand’s news coordinator Ercan Demir as the new editor-in-chief of the Bugandun daily. Bugandunand’s former editor-in-chief, Erhan Baiyurt, is among the sacked journalists.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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