Turkey Punishes TV Channels for Critical Coverage Ahead of Elections

Photo Illustration: Pinho/Unsplash

"The RTUK made it clear in today's meeting that it aims to bring critical broadcasters in line before the election," Tasci wrote on Twitter.

The state agency that monitors and sanctions radio and television broadcasts sanctioned Halk TV for praising a convicted criminal, when jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas' most recent book was discussed.

Halk TV has had 5 per cent of its monthly advertisement income and its programmes stopped five times.

Show TV received the same fine for alleged physical violence against a woman in a soap opera, but Tasci said that the real reason was a political comedy show that satirized the government's poor handling of the February earthquakes.

Fox TV was fined 3 per cent of its monthly advertisement income for the remarks of commentators about a ruling party mayor's handling of foreign funds after the flood disaster of the last week.

The same fine was applied to Tele 1 TV channel after a journalist criticized Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, over the ban on women's day rallies on March 8.

Halk TV was also fined another 3 per cent of its monthly advertisement income due to a TV programme in which an opposition politician criticized the handling of the earthquake disaster.

Experts said such fines are unacceptable as the country heads towards elections.

"Turkey's partisan media regulator issues heavy fines against critical TV networks, primarily focusing on post-earthquake broadcasts, punishing critical speech on screens. Such absurd fines, especially when considered within the election timeline, are a major threat to society's right to access information and an assault on media freedom," Gurkan Ozturan, Coordinator of...

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