Germany revokes two Turkish-language broadcasters’ licenses

14th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

The stations, Kanal 7 INT and TVT, were linked to the Deniz Feneri charity, which saw two of its officials convicted of embezzlement.

Hamburg -- Germany cancelled the licenses of two Turkish-language Islamic television stations Thursday, eight weeks after senior executives were sent to jail for embezzlement.

The stations, Kanal 7 INT and TVT, were linked to the Deniz Feneri charity, which collected alms for the poor from devout Muslims living in Western Europe.

More than 20,000 donors contributed 41 million euros (52 million dollars) to Deniz Feneri, but 16 million euros of that vanished into two defendants' pockets, the Frankfurt court said in September.

Germany's national broadcast licensing commission ZAK said Thursday it was withdrawing licenses issued in March 2007 to the stations because their programs were no longer coming from studios in Germany.

The Deniz Feneri case triggered controversy in Germany, with opponents of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claiming that his Justice and Development Party AKP had been given support by the religious fund-raisers.

The LAK said the company, Euro 7 Fernseh- und Marketing GmbH, did not qualify for a German license since its programming was coming from Turkey and its Frankfurt studios were no longer functioning.

Joachim Becker, deputy director of the state of Hesse media board, said the license loss would not necessarily stop their broadcasts via satellite or German cable networks.

But future broadcasts would only be legal if the stations had broadcasting licenses issued by another country.

The jailing of the company's principals was an additional reason for the cancellation.

Two successive chiefs of Deniz Feneri were sent to prison for 69 and 33 months in the charity fraud case.


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