AEJ joins call for Turkey to stop stifling critical reporting ahead of elections

The AEJ has joined 18 other media freedom and human rights organisations calling on Turkey’s broadcast regulator (RTÜK) immediately to stop fining broadcasters for their critical reporting.
The statement says the regulator is being “weaponised by the governing parties to silence legitimate criticism and provide them with an unfair advantage in the May 2023 elections. This suppression of public debate is undermining the electoral process.”

The media freedom and human rights organisations listed a series of fines in April, March and February on Halk TV, TELE1, FOX TV, Show TV, and Yıldız EN TV, as well as the government’s decision not to renew the operating license of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle’s (DW) Turkish service after it was blocked in June 2022 at the request of RTÜK.

The latest fines amount to 3 per cent of monthly ad revenue to:

  • FOX TV after news anchor Gülbin Tosun said on women’s rights that ‘the ruling alliance does not want you to work or study, but to have babies and stay at home’.
  • Halk TV after a presenter and her guest cited a news article claiming that Turkey’s Disaster Management Authority had charged earthquake survivors to hire out its machinery to help rescue relatives from the rubble.
  • TELE1 after program hosts cited allegations that the AKP-ruled Şanlıurfa municipality had transferred funds provided by foreign governments to Turkey to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The media freedom and human rights organisations statement said these incidents were “part of the Turkish government’s systematic attempt to stifle critical reporting and to control the information flow ahead of Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on 14 May 2023.”
It urged the regulator to end the persecution of independent broadcasters and act according to its mandate to secure freedom of expression and media pluralism in the country.

Statement calls for end to stifling of critical reporting
Turkish broadcast regulator (RTÜK) fines in 2022
IPI urges Turkey to reverse decision on not renewing DW broadcast license