Radio and TV board to take another look at Roj TV

Efforts to withdraw Kurdish station’s licence and block its signal intensify

National radio and television authorities have announced they plan to reopen their investigation of Roj TV.

A decision handed down by the Copenhagen City Court in early January found the station guilty of promoting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organisation by the US, Canada and the EU.

While the station was found guilty of violating anti-terrorism laws, the court said it could not revoke the station’s broadcast licence due to a legal technicality.

After the verdict, members of parliament announced that they would be looking to introduce legislation designed to close the loophole and shut the station down. Broadcast authority Radio og TV Nævnet said at that time that only it could withdraw a broadcast licence, and that the court could not legislate retroactively.

Christian Scherfig, the board’s chairman, now says that the court’s decision has inspired a closer look at Roj TV’s programming.

“The ruling highlighted several factors allowing for an assessment under the Broadcasting Act,” Scherfig said in a statement. “The stationÂ’s content and the influence of the PKK on editorial decisions should be examined.”

Meanwhile, the European broadcasting service provider Eutelsat announced it had removed Roj TV from its signal.

“Eutelsat has decided to suspend Roj TV on its satellites in order to avoid being liable for criminal responsibility for abetting terrorist activities,” Eutelsat said in a statement.

Eutelsat has asked distributors uplinking Roj TV to its satellites to stop broadcasting the channel. The organisation says it cannot selectively turn off the signal on its own, because the process of doing so could affect other broadcasters.

Despite EutelsatÂ’s decision, the station can still be seen in Denmark, western Europe and parts of Turkey. Viewers in areas of Turkey, as well as Syria, Iraq and Iran can only see the broadcasts online.

Roj TV has appealed the Copenhagen verdict and says it is still on the air. 

“Our broadcasts have not been stopped,” said Imdat Yilmaz, Roj TVÂ’s general manager. “It is unfair that they did this based on a case that has not been settled.”

Yilmaz said the station is looking for other ways to have its signal broadcast.

The Turkish government, which has long complained that the station should be shut down, issued a release praising Eutelsat’s decision saying it was a natural outcome of the court’s decision.