Turkish daily accuses authorities of imposing unfair advertising ban

Turkey’s left-wing daily Birgün accused the Press Advertisement Agency (BİK), a state body that distributes the advertisements of the public sector in the media, of unjustly imposing an embargo on the newspaper for three months. 

The agency first cut advertisements to Birgün for failing to submit online documents on time, the newspaper said in a statement on Wednesday. Birgün corrected the irregularity, but the agency then extended its ban over news reports that did not cite sources.

“Our newspaper, which is a member of Turkey’s most widely distributed news agencies and of a photo agency, always cites sources for news reports taken from those agencies,” Birgün said. “But BİK asks us to add bylines and sources to all news reports and photographs by pushing the regulation - while it does not demand that other newspapers comply with this interpretation (of the rule set in the regulation),” it said. 

In addition to that, the agency imposed a 49-day advertising ban over several news reports in the last three months, Birgün said. “We want to underline that not even a single correction request has been received, let alone a legal complaint submitted, about those reports which BİK found problematic and imposed fines for,” the daily said. 

The newspaper said it would use all legal means to struggle against what it called unfair practices.

In Turkey, most newspapers are dependent on income raised through advertisements distributed by the agency, which allocates advertising according to circulation numbers.