ROJ TV the satellite television of the
country that does not exist
From Med TV to Roj TV
August 4, 2010
Roj TV is the TV channel of the country that does
not exist. And perhaps this is why it induces fear.
Because everyday it tells the story of the invisible
country and because of that even more uncomfortable
for the bad conscience of many. Often the stories it
tells are stories of repression, violence, of the
dirty war that nobody (or few) want to tell.
Sometimes they are stories of resistance. Of a
culture that keeps growing and producing artists,
musicians, writers and poets. Roj TV
is all this and much more.
Roj TV the satellite television of the country that
does not exist. In 'classical' terms, that is.
Because Kurdistan, the Kurdish nation is a reality
and it's live and kicking. Roj TV is always under
The Kurdish satellite television has a story of
resistance lasting 15 years. Photo: Firatnews com
From the Turkish state
to begin with, but also from the United States,
which have often act on behalf of the Turkish
requests (and pressures) to an often embarrassed and
embarrassing silent Europe. The requests are of
course for the "immediate closure" of Roj TV.
In 2005 it was the Turkish premier Recep Tayyip
Erdogan who, at a press conference in Denmark with
his Danish counterpart, suddenly left the room when
he saw among the crowd of journalists two Roj TV
reporters. "There is room only for one of us: if
they don't leave I will", said an angry Erdogan. And
it was him who had to leave the room, after the
polite but firm reply by the Danish authorities,
"For us freedom of the press is a value to respect
and to uphold. We will not censor any journalist".
In other words, sorry Prime Minister, but it's you
who should go. And Erdogan did leave, but he has
been holding a grudge against the Danish government
Roj TV was born as Med TV on 30 March 1995. On 14
April of that year it broadcast the founding
congress of the Kurdish Parliament in exile. Over
the years in the four parts of the divided Kurdistan
(Iran, Turkey, Iraq and Syria) as well as all over
the world the satellite dishes grew like mushrooms
to receive the precious signal which was coming from
Europe to give the Kurds everywhere images and
voices of their country. Med TV was broadcasting
from Belgium and soon Turkish pressures convinced
the local authorities to act against the television.
In September 1996 with a massive police operation
Med TV is raided, its staff detained, archives
In February 1997 the MGK (Turkish National Security
Council) asks once again for the closure of Med TV.
But is after the arrest of the Kurdish leader,
Abdullah Ocalan, that things turn for the worst for
the television. On 22 March 1999, a month after the
capture (as a result of an international plot) of
Ocalan in Kenya, the English ITC revokes the license
and Med TV cannot broadcast anymore. But the Kurds
don't accept this abuse and open a new television
channel, Medya TV,www.ekurd.netthis
time in France. It does not go too well, but a new
license is obtained by CTV based in the Vatican. And
after a short period it is Denmark that give the new
licence. The Kurdish channel begins broadcasting
once again, first with the name Mesopotamia TV and
then with the name Roj TV.
Roj TV has a very various programming, from news, to
in depth investigation programs, from live music
programs to live debates. It broadcasts in Kurdish (Sorani,
Kurmanci and Zazaki) as well as in Turkish.
The last big operation was on 4 March this year.
Dozens of arrests were carried out once again by the
Belgian authorities acting on request from Turkey.
And indeed Turkish policemen took part in the raid
at Roj TV studios which were destroyed. The
television as a result of this clearly politically
motivated operation suffered a €1.2 million loss in
author or news agency, ANF News Agency | firatnews com
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