The case of Hayatın Sesi TV, which was shut down based on a Decree of Law issued under the State of Emergency has been postponed to 19 September.
The fourth hearing of the Hayatın Sesi TV, accused of propagating for ISIS, PKK and TAK, took place on Tuesday.
Birol Sarıkaş, President of Cam Keramik- İş Trade Union, İbrahim Kızılyer, DİSK Gıda-İş Marmara Regional Representative, Sinan Ceviz, Liman-İş Organising Expert,Faruk Eren, President of DİSK Basın-İş, Mustafa Kuleli, Financial Secretary of Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS), Özgür Öğret, Turkey Representative for the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), Ercüment Akdeniz, News Editor of Evrensel Newspaper, Istanbul City administrators of the Labour Party (EMEP) were all present at the hearing.
The owners of the TV station Mustafa Kara and İsmail Gökhan Bayram and General Director Gökhan Çetin, being charged with up to 13 years imprisonment, defended themselves against claims that they have been “aggregately spreading propaganda of the organisations” mentioned above. The court adjourned to 19 September 2018 on request from lawyers for extra time.
‘WE DEFENDED PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO UNBIASED NEWS’
Editor in charge, Gökhan Çetin, said that “(Hayatın Sesi) has been against violence and terrorism since the day it was established to the day it was closed down. We do not have any publications that praise violence and terrorism, related to the events as is said in the indictment. On the contrary, we defended the human values required by our publishing principles. I have adopted a broadcast line opposing deaths. We defended the right of the people to receive news. We conducted our broadcasting on this line. I don’t think this is something that should lead to a trial. I don’t accept the accusations.”
‘ACCUSATIONS ARE NOT REALISTIC’
İsmail Gökhan Bayram, one of the co-owners of the channel, said, “the subjects of accusations are topical and are of interest to the public. It is the duty of the public broadcaster to criticise authorities in these publications. It does not make any sense to say that we have made propaganda of different terrorist organisations in the indictment.
The TV station (Hayatın Sesi) has been defending life against deaths throughout its broadcasting life. Our publications are within the scope of freedom of thought and expression. I am a board member of the television. As one of the partners of the channel, it is neither possible nor realistic to follow all publications. Moreover, the Constitutional Court in 2009 stated that it is not the responsibility of the owners, and found that if the prohibited acts were committed in the press, it would be contrary to the Constitution to punish the owners just based on their ownership. There is no evidence against me other than being a member of the Board of Directors. In the case file, there is no information or evidence other than being a partner of Hayatın Sesi. I do not accept these charges, I demand to be acquitted.”
‘THE RESPONSIBILITY DOES NOT LIE WITH THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS’
Mustafa Kara, who defended his position, said, “TV stations are established within the law. I am the chairman of the board. I do not have a responsibility for publications. There is information on 5 live broadcasts, but my name is not mentioned as a defendant related to any of these broadcasts. There is no claim that I have participated in any crime. Why am I here as a defendant? I am not responsible for these publications, which I learned about in my indictment. Why am I supposed to carry the responsibility that the laws do not put on me? There must be a link between the allegation and myself – this does not exist. I want my acquittal.”
‘INDICTMENT IS ISSUED WITHOUT REFERRAL TO THE LAW’
Lawyer Devrim Avcı said, “In such cases as these, people are being punished for using freedom of expression. This has become clearly apparent in this case. The indictment was issued without referral to the law; the charges are personal. The responsibility belongs to the manager and director of the programmes. Just as in the case of Ayşe Çelik; where she was sent to the prison and Channel D was not punished; such a course of action is against legal practice also in this case. Our political rulers just want applause. They do not want any criticism, and this case is a practical reflection of this.”
Article by: Uğur Cevher ZENGİN