Stockholm-based Kurdish channel dropped after pressure from Turkey

The French satellite company Eutelsat will no longer transmit a Kurdish TV-channel based in Stockholm, after a request from Turkey's radio- and TV-authority, Swedish Radio News reports.

"They called two days ago and said that Eutelsat had decided to close our channel. I demanded a written confirmation yesterday that they would close our channel today, and they did," said Faruk Nozhatzadeh, CEO of the Kurdish TV-channel Newroz.

The channel is broadcasting from Sweden via satellite to the rest of Europe and parts of Asia. The programmes contain news and entertainment in Kurdish and Persian.

Over the past few weeks, several Kurdish TV-channels in Turkey have been closed down by the authorities there, but now the closures reach also outside the country. Last week Eutelsat also terminated the broadcasting by a Kurdish channel in Belgium, which is now followed by a closure of the broadcasts from Newroz in Sweden.

This development is criticised by the European Journalist Federation and Reporters without borders, reports Swedish Radio.

"Here's a regime that has gone very far in its hunt on journalists and is trying to silence the free exchange of ideas. And here is also a company listening to this regime and closing down a tv-channel that does not even target Turkish citizens, which of course is very problematic," said Jonathan Lundqvist, chairman of the Swedish branch of Reporters without borders.

Faruk Nozhatzadeh at the Newroz-tv-channel is planning to take his case to court in France.

"We have not broken any laws or rules regarding television broadcasts in Europe," he says.

Swedish Radio News has contacted Eutelsat but they have declined to comment.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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