Turkish watchdog lists 16,000 sanctions against media

Turkey's top television watchdog imposed more than 16,000 sanctions on the media and as much as 250 million liras (nearly $45 million) in fines for violating broadcasting regulations over an eight-year, Turkish secularist newspaper Cumhuriyet reported on Sunday.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), the country's broadcasting authority, revealed details of the sanctions in response to a parliamentary question by main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Gamze Akkuş Ilgezdi.

Speaking at the parliament on Saturday, Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy announced the bans and penalties, saying the watchdog imposed restrictions on 1,322 media service providers between 2010 and 2018.

RTÜK has been criticised by some Turkish politicians, observers and local human rights groups for its strong-armed, Islamic-leaning approach to supervision of the media. Its decisions include shutting down a Kurdish television channel temporarily, fining TV shows for filming actors kissing each other and for including gay characters on screen.

Last year, RTÜK fined a private television channel 1 million liras for showing children aged between seven and 11 years dancing in shorts during the “You’ve Got Talent” television show. It claimed that people were getting aroused by the children.