Turkey’s media watchdog says political comments could be banned in TV news reports

Ebubekir Şahin, the head of Turkey’s state broadcasting regulator RTÜK, said on Saturday the watchdog could ban political comments in television news reports following a spat over a pro-government media figure's televised remarks, T24 reported.

"In order not to block the comments of our colleagues who do this job well, we decided not to prevent the others. If it continues like this, it has a place in the law, we will make a new decision on this issue. They can report their news without any comments," Şahin said.

Sevda Noyan on May 8 said the on pro-government Ülke TV programme that her family could "take out 50 people" to support Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the event of a coup attempt against him.

Despite severe criticism toward Noyan's remarks, Şahin said last week the televised comments on killing were “not a big deal” or enough to warrant action against her or the TV channel.

However, 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.