European countries are within their rights to prohibit broadcasters that infringe the principles of international broadcasting, but they cannot prevent reception in another member state, the European Court of Justice has ruled.
The ruling followed proceedings between the Danish based Mesopotamia Broadcast and Roj TV and the German authorities. It means that Germany can prevent carriage on cable and other forms of retransmission in the country, but anyone with a satellite dish would be free to continue to receive the channel.
Turkish authorities had complained that Roj TV’s output was in support of the Kurdistan Workers Party (‘the PKK’), classified as a terrorist organisation by the European Union.
The German Federal Government said that the provisions of the Directive Directive 89/552/EEC did not apply to the general rules of the Member States on criminal or police matters or to the Law on associations, even if those rules are capable of producing effects on television broadcasting activities. Roj TV used studio facilities in Germany and was blamed for incitement between Turkish and Kurdish communities in Germany.
The case dates back to 2006 and 2007 when the Turkish authorities lodged a complaint with the Danish Radio and Television Board. Two rulings in 2007 and 2008 found the Roj TV not in breach of Danish or European law, taking the view that the station was merely reflecting views from within Turkey.