DPS Leader Mestan Warns against Rescheduling Turkish-Language News
Proposals to reschedule news broadcasts in Turkish hosted by the Bulgarian National Television are dangerous, Movement of Rights and Freedoms (DPS) head Lyutvi Mestan said on Tuesday.
The ten-minute-long program on the public broadcaster's national channel BNT1 has been aired for 15 years, but the ruling axis is now planning to pull them off, claiming the regional one, BNT2, is more suitable.
In Mestan's view, however, Turkish-language news have a "symbolic value" apart from delivering information, since they are a sign of "respect for ethnic and religious diversity."
In a statement made from the rostrum on behalf of his party, which is dominated by ethnic Turks, Mestan calls on Parliament not to go on with the government's plans as they could foment tensions between Bulgarians and Bulgarian Turks.
"We are against trading the model of integration for separation and drawing borders," Mestan declared.
He urged politicians to abide by the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which Bulgaria adopted in 1997 and to heed President Rosen Plevneliev's call, with the latter saying the program should not be altered in any way.
In his view, amid the 25th anniversary of democratic changes "a revision of the civilizational choice" illustrated by the proposal.
The 1996 Radio and Television Act allows for the production of broadcasts in a language other than Bulgarian (the official one) if they are designated for "Bulgarian citizens for whom Bulgarian is not a mother tongue" (Article 12 (2:1).
On the other hand, rescheduling the news is a key demand of the nationalist coalition Patriotic Front, which supports the ruling minority coalition.
Council for Electronic Media (CEM) member Mariya Stoyanova believes the current regime needs change, but without pulling off the broadcast.
Stoyanova told Offnews airing the news just after the regular bulletin at 16:00 EET is just a way to wash hands of Bulgaria's responsibility to inform the Turkish-speaking minority, since there are not many people to watch TV at that time.
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