Mercan TV, the only local television station in Adıyaman, one of the Turkish provinces most severely affected by powerful earthquakes last month, has been broadcasting from a tent since its former offices were damaged in the disaster, Voice of America’s (VOA) Turkish service reported on Tuesday.
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey’s south on Feb. 6, which was followed by a number of aftershocks including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that jolted the region, killing more than 45,000 people in Turkey, according to the latest official figures.
The station, which was founded in 1994 and has been broadcasting nationally since 2014, suffered its first broadcasting interruption ever after the earthquakes.
According to VOA, the TV station lost one of its program hosts in the disaster and most of its technical equipment was unusable. The managers then decided to continue broadcasting from a tent in the Altınşehir district of Adıyaman, with equipment borrowed from its Mersin branch and other local TV stations in the surrounding provinces.
Mercan TV chief editor Selahattin Aslan told VOA that they were sorry they weren’t able to broadcast programs during the critical period after the earthquakes.
Aslan added that they had enough equipment to continue broadcasting and would do so as long as there was no internet or power cut in the region, although they couldn’t insulate sound in the tent or make it more attractive.
When asked why they hadn’t relocated to their branch in Mersin, Aslan said they wanted to stay in Adıyaman to “continue to be the voice of the city.”
According to a report by the Dicle Fırat Journalists’ Association (DFG), 25 journalists died in the earthquakes last month, 11 of whom were in Adıyaman.
Meanwhile, an obligation to have press cards or accreditation was imposed on local and foreign journalists in Diyabakır two days after the disaster, with the journalists being told to file an application with the regional offices of the Presidency’s Directorate of Communications.
The move was seen by many as arbitrary and an attempt to prevent journalists’ right to report from a disaster zone.