Turkey’s broadcasting regulator sanctions 2 TV networks targeted by Erdoğan

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The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), responsible for the regulation and control of the Turkish broadcasting sector, has imposed fines as well as partial broadcast bans on Fox TV and Halk TV after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan publicly slammed them and threatened them with repercussions, the T24 news website reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, the two TV networks were sanctioned for allegedly “provoking hatred and enmity among society” along with charges of “non compliance with the principle of impartiality” for Fox TV and “exceeding the limits of criticism” for Halk TV.

Fox TV received a fine of TL 1 million ($200,000) and its main news bulletin was banned from broadcast for three days, while Halk TV was fined TL 80,000 ($15,000) and prohibited from broadcasting five episodes of “Halk Arenası” (People’s Arena), during a recent episode of which actors Müjdat Gezen and Metin Akpınar made fascism-related remarks allegedly in reference to Erdoğan.

The two were targeted by Erdoğan in a speech on Sunday. The next morning, they were detained by the police and then released on probation including an overseas travel ban following their questioning by an İstanbul prosecutor and an appearance before a judge.

It was reported on Tuesday that a lawyer for Erdoğan petitioned RTÜK seeking a fine for Halk TV as well as a suspension of up to five episodes of the show.

Fox TV news presenter Fatih Portakal was also targeted by Erdoğan after he presented a segment about the Yellow Vest protests in France a few weeks ago during which he implied that the right to peaceful protest can no longer be exercised in Turkey because the people live in fear.

In response Erdoğan claimed that the judiciary would respond to Portakal accordingly.

The sanctions were reportedly imposed on the basis of provisions that prescribe “license annulment in the event of recurrence” and as such the two networks will be stripped of their licenses if they receive subsequent penalties based on the same clauses.

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