A July ruling by Turkey’s Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK) to black out Halk TV, a broadcaster that’s critical of the government, went in to effect on Sept. 28, halting all programming until Oct. 3.
The July ruling by the council was a first in its history, as the media watchdog had never cracked down on a broadcaster to stop all activity.
The punishment is reportedly based on the principle that “no broadcast can violate the sovereignty of the Turkish Republic, the unity of the country and the nation, and the founding principles of Atatürk.”
RTÜK member from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İlhan Taşçı noted that Halk TV could lose its license if it received any other sanctions from the council.
Former deputy prime minister and leader of Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) Ali Babacan said in a tweet that he condemned the Halk TV blackout.
“It’s unacceptable for RTÜK to police thought in a landscape where it’s already difficult to hear critical voices,” Babacan said.