EU court: Germany cannot ban Roj TV broadcasts

by Andy Sennitt.

Germany cannot prevent people from watching a Kurdish language TV channel that Turkey says is a mouthpiece for the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), European Union judges ruled on Thursday, according to the NTV news portal. Roj-TV has a Danish broadcasting licence, although its studios are in Belgium.

The German Interior Ministry canceled Roj TV’s license to broadcast in Germany in 2008 on charges of inciting terrorism and airing PKK propaganda following complaints by Turkish authorities. The General Court of the EU said German authorities stated that such measures are legal “in principle” as long as they do not affect Roj TV’s overall capacity to broadcast programmes from Denmark. The court also reiterated that Denmark is the only country that has the power to shut down the broadcaster.

The German Federal Administrative Court, which is considering an appeal against the ban on Roj TV’s activities in Germany, asked the EU judges to deliver an opinion on the matter. Since mid-August, a Danish court has been trying executives of Roj TV on charges of promoting and glorifying the activities of the PKK. Roj TV has harmed relations between Turkey and Denmark and was a factor in Ankara’s initial opposition to former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s bid to become NATO secretary-General.