Thursday, November 25, 2010

RTUK Fines CNN Türk for "Ne Oluyor"

From Bianet:
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) imposed a monetary fine of TL 286,160 (approx. € 143,000) to the Turkish news channel CNN Türk because of the program "What's going on" ('Ne Oluyor'). The program touched upon topics regarding the Kurdish question such as democratic autonomy, calls for a ceasefire and education in the mother tongue.

The ideas conveyed in the broadcast on 10 August were seen as a breach of the broadcasting standards as defined in Article 4 of Law No. 3984 on the Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and Their Broadcasts, namely as a violation of the "compliance with the supremacy of the law".

The decision, taken by RTÜK on 10 October, was communicated to the public just recently. Council member Taha Yücel opposed the ruling. He reminded the fact that people with different ideas expressed their thoughts, "Even if the statements on subject would be disturbing, they should be evaluated within the scope of freedom of expression. Moreover, the guests of the program controversially discussed the diverse opinions expressed by the participants. Assessing the program as a whole, there is no reason for punishment", Yücel stated.

The sanction was based on the statements of Osman Özçelik, deputy of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

Özçelik had said in the program, "The members of a war with low intensity are called guerrilla. I do not think that terms like terrorist et cetera are correct. They are wearing uniforms, they belong to a certain hierarchy and they have a logo. With a logo and the uniform they are a guerrilla alliance. They have to be named correctly, no matter if you agree with that or not. This is a political movement [referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party PKK]. It is a political party, a political party with military force. The name is the Kurdistan Workers Party and it is a political movement."
It is easy for RTUK to fine programming it finds objectionable, and a proposed media law, expected to be passed in the coming year, will make it even easier.

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