Kurds’ London protest heads to BBC for ‘under coverage’

© Peter Nicholls
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and mainstream media in general has a tendency to cover events in Turkey without going into much detail as to what happened on the ground, says Sarhand Hars, Kurdish London-based correspondent for NRT TV.

On Sunday, Kurdish protesters marched through Central London, demanding an end to what they called "state terror" in Turkey. The march continued on to the BBC headquarters. The demonstrators accused the organization of reporting in favor of the Turkish government on the twin blasts that ripped through a peace rally claiming the lives of 128 people.

READ MORE: Powerful explosions kill dozens at peace rally in Ankara

RT: What exactly is it about the BBC's coverage of the attacks that the Kurdish activists perceive as bias?

Sarhand Hars: Basically, just on Sunday’s event it was not only the Kurdish people who were demonstrating or rallying in London but a lot of other people as well in support of the Kurdish cause in London… about more than 10,000 people. Basically, this is not the first time that the rallies or the demonstrations goes toward the BBC not only in terms of bias, but first for under coverage. Sometimes a lot of the news does not come out in Turkey, especially certain areas of the country where the Turkish governmental state bans journalists to go there or to report. So, under coverage is one problem. 

Another issue, in general, [is that] not only the BBC but the mainstream media tends to cover the main event without going into much detail of what has happened on the ground; how the Kurdish people in general are being treated, I mean in this instant, in this event, because it was such a big event - one of the biggest explosions in Turkey. There was enough coverage, and they were talking about how the Turkish state was saying “it might be the PKK", for example, because they were saying “they are capable of doing that". This is very controversial. It has been clear that the PKK, for example, has not been attacking its own people – the Kurdish people. So, the Kurdish people recently have been targeted in Turkey by explosions and also by the other ways of attacks. The government has been really brutal on them, suppressing the people there. So, the media, in general, tends to ignore those things sometimes, not to be critical, not to cover aspects of it…

People carry an injured man after an explosion during a peace march in Ankara, Turkey, October 10, 2015. © Tumay Berkin

RT: The government says Islamic State is most likely behind the deadly blasts, why do you think they targeted Kurdish activists?

SH: In general, what people are saying is that the government might turn a blind eye on the security, they might let [a terrorist attack] happen so that it will gain support in the next elections. So that is one of the criticisms of the government. Because where the explosion happened is in the heart of Ankara where the security forces are present, where the government closely watches everything – it is not a faraway town or city in Turkey, it is in the heart of the country where the security and the police have a very good control of what is going on.

So now, this is happening and then there were reports of the ambulances being blocked to take the wounded. That is another indication of what angered the protesters, and they were talking about that on social media as well. So, basically, they are saying that the government is not doing enough. That is one of the criticisms. Another one is that targeting or helping or they are somehow not protecting the people because they want to show that there is violence when the PKK or the Kurds are turning the country into a violent kind of situation so that they gain support in the elections. So, that is why people are criticizing the mainstream media for not talking about this aspect of the events.

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