A recent study on news channels has revealed that not only public broadcaster TRT but also private media have allocated minimal or no airtime to opposition parties and their presidential candidates, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Sunday.
Two members of Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), İsmet Demirdöğen and İlhan Taşçı, who are also Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies, examined the practices of TV channels between May 1 and 25, comparing their coverage of various political parties.
According to the study, private channels CNN Türk and NTV covered the CHP and its presidential candidate, Muharrem İnce, for a total of 22 hours, 12 minutes and 54 seconds, whereas the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) were on air for 70 hours, 13 minutes and 5 seconds.
NTV, in that particular time frame, covered the İYİ (Good) Party and its candidate, Meral Akşener, for 17 minutes, 22 seconds; however, CNN Türk never mentioned them during its news broadcasts.
The study also focused on state-run TRT’s news channel, TRT Haber. Between May 1 and 25, the CHP and İnce received three hours, 38 minutes and 26 seconds of coverage, while the AKP and MHP had 31 hours, 24 minutes and 59 seconds. The İYİ Party and Akşener were also covered by TRT Haber for a mere nine minutes, 30 seconds. The channel only broadcast news coverage about Akşener’s rally in Mersin province on May 6.
On those three channels, CNN Türk, NTV and TRT Haber, the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş and Felicity Party’s (SP) Temel Karamollaoğlu received not even a mention during news broadcasting.
The opposition presidential candidates have been attacking TRT over its unbalanced news coverage since the beginning of their campaigns.
On May 26 Akşener pledged to sell state-run TRT during a speech at a rally in Çorum province. She was angry about TRT’s coverage of her previous rally in Kayseri, which aired for only 38 seconds.
The same day, the CHP’s İnce stated he would organize a rally in front of TRT headquarters in Ankara to stress what he called their unfair practices.
According to the study, a meeting during which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan unveiled his party’s election manifesto was broadcast live on 12 TV channels for more than four hours.