UNI Europa statement on the rights of public service broadcasting workers in Turkey and the future of TRT

Tuesday 18 September 2018

UNI Europa expresses its concern with the impact of new regulations under the state of emergency affecting the future of TRT and its staff.

The Emergency Decree Law No. 703, which has been issued under the State of Emergency encourages about 2100 staff to retire from TRT. The Decree represents a measure to force employees of TRT to retire. Further, measures are taken to dislocate or transfer about 3000 staff to other public institutions, while TRT will receive staff from other institutions.

These measures will force the qualified and dedicated broadcasting staff out of TRT destroying their careers, disrupting their social and family lives. Moreover, vocal artists and musicians will be negatively affected since their special status are ignored by these regulations and might be transferred to institutions as regular public officers.

Staff that will remain at TRT will also suffer from the new regulation as they imply substantive changes in the contracts and rights of all employees without any job security.

These multiple measures not only destroy any prospect of a fair and sustainable employment environment but will also impact negatively TRT’s capacity to fulfill its public service mission.

UNI Europa calls on the Turkish government to reconsider and take back these new rules governing employment at TRT and urge authorities to protect staff and commit to a sustainable development of public service media.

Presidential Decrees No. 3 and No. 4 introduced new provisions regulating TRT, which enable the President to govern TRT and its policies with no parliamentary checks and balances. Furthermore, accreditation of all media staff is transferred under the responsibility of the Presidential Office. The Emergency Decree will put limitations on the mandate of management and the Executive Board of the public broadcaster. In addition, the new powers of the Ministry of Culture over the Supreme Board of Radio and Television, RTUK may threaten its role as autonomous institution and will further diminish the democratic oversight of public broadcasting.

UNI Europa calls on authorities to review their decisions and to protect the democratic, societal and cultural functions of public service broadcasting, which contribute to sustaining an open, diverse and inclusive society.