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The Tickle File is ftm's daily column of media news, complimenting the feature articles on major media issues. Tickle File items point out media happenings, from the oh-so serious to the not-so serious, that should not escape a shorter, more informal format.

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Week of February 19, 2018

Women’s TV channel launched, finally
"part of the social fabric"

A new television channel in Gaza by and for women, Taif TV, finally took to the airwaves after a bit of a delay, reported Al Jazeera (February 20). A launch party last weekend was cancelled by Islamist Palestinian group Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since chasing out the secular Fatah group in 2007. The channel would have started broadcasting after the launch party.

The new channel, according to a spokesperson, quoted by the BBC (February) is to "shed light on Palestinian women as an integral part of the social fabric, and the role of women in building society”. The Hamas Ministry of Information said the relevant approvals had not been obtained, which was disputed by Taif TV operators. "Our idea will remain and we will keep working on it,” said the Taif TV spokesperson.

According to an Internews report published in 2013, three television channels and 25 radio stations operated in Gaza, most operated by “different political factions.” Hamas has two channels, Al-Aqsa TV and Al-Quds TV, and the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, through the President’s office, operates the other, Palestinian TV. Television channels based elsewhere are available on satellite systems. (See more about media in the Middle East here)

Last May Zan TV began broadcasting in Afghanistan with an all-female on-air staff. “This station represents women and we work to raise the voice of women so they can defend their rights,” said producer Khatira Ahmadi, quoted by Reuters (May 19, 2017). The station is owned by Hamid Samar, a guy, and several men are employed as technicians.

Top level negotiations free reporter
"taken hostage"

After languishing in a Turkish jail without charge for a year and three days, German daily Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücelwas released on bail last week and returned to Germany. He was detained by Turkish authorities in February, 2017 on suspicion of “spreading propaganda” and held for months in solitary confinement. A chartered aircraft was waiting at the Istanbul airport.

He was indicted by an Istanbul court, released pending trial and allowed to leave Turkey. The same legal procedure released Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet former chief editor Can Dündar who, then, fled to Germany. About an hour after Mr. Yücel’s release, reported CNN (February 16), the same court sentenced six Turkish media workers to prison for life terms. At least 160 media workers remain in Turkish jails, reported the Turkish Association of Journalists (See more abut media in Turkey here)

"The funny thing is, I still don't know why I was arrested one year ago, or more precisely, why I was taken hostage one year ago,” he said on arrival in Berlin, quoted by Deutsche Welle (February 16), “and I also don't know why I was freed today. I still don't have a charge.” He will still face trial, likely in absentia, for charges that could lead to an 18 year prison sentence. (See more about press/media freedom here)

Negotiations to release Mr. Yücel reached a crescendo days earlier with German Chancellor Angela Merkel meeting Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Berlin followed by a meeting in Rome between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. “I can assure you there are no agreements, trade-offs, or deals in connection with this,” said Minister Gabriel, quoted by Reuters (February 17), adding a meeting between Chancellor Merkel and President Erdogan might take place later this spring to begin ironing out difficulties between the two leaders.

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