Media Authority Fines Pro-Government Broadcaster over ‘Coup’ Remarks

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The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) announced today (May 22) that it imposed a broadcast suspension on a program on Ulke TV for three episodes over a guest’s remarks that “incited hatred.”

During a program on May 8, Sevda Noyan, a pro-government media figure, said that her family would kill at least 50 people in case of a new coup attempt against the government.

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“July 15 [2016 military coup attempt] stuck in our gizzard. We couldn’t do what we wanted. We were taken unawares … Our family would take down 50 people. We are very well equipped both materially and spiritually. We stand by our leader,” she said and added that several people residing in the same residential complex with her were “on her list.”

Noyan’s remarks “exceeded the limits of freedom of expression,” the RTUK stated, adding that the broadcast violated a provision of Law No. 6112 that says, “Broadcast services cannot provoke people to hatred and animosity or create feelings of hate among the society.”

Article 8-b of the law says, “Media services shall not incite the society to hatred and hostility by making discrimination on the grounds of race, language, religion, sex, class, region and sect or shall not constitute feelings of hatred in the society.”

In a unanimous vote, the council suspended the “Arafta Sorular” program for three episodes.

Ebubekir Şahin, the RTUK chair, initially stated that they wouldn’t give a penalty to the broadcaster “that would please coup supporters” but backtracked after reactions by the opposition politicians and the public.