Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog fines stations critical of gov’t $1.84 million in 2021

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Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) imposed TL 21.5 million ($1.84 million) in fines in 2021 on TV channels with critical stances towards the government, the Bold Medya news website reported on Friday.

RTÜK member İlhan Taşcı said on social media that broadcasters that are critical of the government received 71 fines amounting to TL 21.5 million in 2021.

Pro-opposition station Halk TV received the highest number of fines with 23, followed by TELE 1 with 21, Taşçı tweeted.

RTÜK imposed 15 fines on FOX TV, eight on KRT and four on Habertürk between Jan. 1 and Dec. 24, 2021.

Taşçı noted that no fine has been imposed on pro-government channels although there were 100,000 complaints against them, adding: “800 staff members [of the RTÜK] watch only four channels.”

RTÜK is accused of contributing to increasing censorship in the country by imposing punitive and disproportionate sanctions on independent television and radio stations critical of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), 85 percent of the national media in Turkey is owned by pro-government businessmen and toe the official line.

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