Turkish media watchdog ignoring complaints against pro-gov't station - board member

Turkey’s top media watchdog is failing to take action against tens of thousands of complaints filed against pro-government ATV television station, an opposition member of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) said.

RTÜK received over 90,000 complaints on ATV, the largest number for any media outlet in 2020, but the media watchdog has not examined a single file as of yet, Artı Gerçek news site quoted İlhan Taşçı, RTÜK board member affiliated with the main opposition Republican People's Party, as saying.

Taşçı said pro-government channels were under the protection of RTÜK head Ebubekir Şahin.

Şahin made headlines earlier this month, when he was appointed as a board member at Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank.

“Imagine a channel that receives the largest number of complaints and there is not a single file created for it… Ebu Bekir Şahin has practically placed a shield of invincibility over ATV,’’ Taşçı said.

“How else do you explain that not a single file on ATV was discussed in RTÜK’s supreme board?’’ he added.

Since the beginning of Turkey’s COVID-19 outbreak, state authorities have targeted media outlets - television broadcasters Fox TV, Halk TV and Tele 1 in particular - for airing programmes critical of the government’s response to the coronavirus and the subsequent economic crisis. 

RTÜK has on multiple occasions imposed administrative fines and broadcasting bans on the three networks.