BBC suspends ties with Turkey’s NTV over protests coverage

    A rainbow is seen as giant national flags and a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk are displayed on Istanbul's Taksim Square June 14, 2013. The BBC announced on Friday it has suspended its partnership with Turkey's private NTV channel after it pulled a programme on press freedom and the anti-government protests
    AFP/AFP – A rainbow is seen as giant national flags and a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk are displayed on Istanbul’s Taksim Square June 14, 2013. The BBC announced on Friday it has suspended its partnership …more 

The BBC announced on Friday it has suspended its partnership with Turkey’s private NTV channel after it pulled a programme on press freedom and the anti-government protests.

NTV decided not to broadcast an edition of the BBC programme Dunya Gundemi (World Agenda) on Friday which included an item on the initial failure of mainstream Turkish media to cover the protests, a spokewoman for the British broadcaster told AFP.

“The BBC is suspending its partnership with NTV in Turkey with immediate effect following NTV’s decision not to transmit the BBC programme Dunya Gundemi today,” said BBC Global News Director Peter Horrocks in a statement.

“Any interference in BBC broadcasting is totally unacceptable and at a time of considerable international concern about the situation in Turkey, the BBC’s impartial service to audiences is vital.”

Horrocks had previously expressed concern about NTV’s coverage of the protests, which began as an attempt to stop the redevelopment of an Istanbul park and have grown into a major challenge to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

In a statement on June 6, Horrocks said that following the start of the protests, the BBC had “sought and received assurances from NTV that BBC programming would continue to be broadcast in full and without interference”.

He continued: “NTV has apologised to its staff and viewers for not covering the protests in their early days and has reaffirmed its commitment to international standards of journalism, both to its viewers and to the BBC.

“NTV is now reporting all aspects of the protests in Turkey in its news coverage.

“BBC coverage will continue to report a wide range of voices and viewpoints in our reporting of events in Turkey and worldwide.”

The BBC’s partnership with NTV includes the thrice-weekly editions of Dunya Gundemi, which has aired since 2008, and other content.

The BBC’s Turkish television service continues online.

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