Turkey’s TV watchdog fines networks for ‘insulting’ Islamic values

Turkey’s Supreme Council for Radio and Television (RTÜK) has issued financial penalties to two opposition networks over what it called mocking Islam and religious values, Birgün newspaper reported on Monday.

RTÜK ruled that oppositon Halk TV, during the discussion programme “Media Neighborhood,” used “obscene expressions” in which “Allah’s name was taken lightly,’’ by host Ayşenur Arslan and economist Emin Çapa, Birgün said.

RTÜK cited to a reference made to God by the pair as they circuited the head of Religious Affairs Directorate, Ali Erbaş, for receiving medical treatment for COVID-19 in the United States instead of Turkey.

Çapa said Erbaş had received a divine message to travel to the United States.

TV station TELE 1 was also fined by RTÜK over remarks made by journalist Emre Kongar during his news programme “18 Minutes.”

Kongar’s use of the term “Islamic terror” linked the religion to death, violence and destruction, RTÜK said, while insulting the religious values of the people of Turkey.

Controlled by allies of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, RTÜK has come under criticism for handing down a disproportionate number of fines to the country’s few remaining opposition outlets in recent years.