11 May 2020 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 11 May 2020 n° 51/2020 Turkey

Fox TV Banned from Broadcast, Anchor Fatih Portakal Faces Three-Year Imprisonment

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner IPI EFJ/IFJ
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Partner IPI EFJ/IFJ
On 15 April 2020, the Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK) issued broadcast bans against Fox TV over anchor Fatih Portakal’s critical comments while reporting the state’s COVID-19 policies. RTÜK cited Portakal’s comments while reporting the news on 30 March, 31 March and 1 April on the issues of blocking opposition mayors’ donation campaigns, the politicisation of the Directorate of Religious Affairs and economic issues. Fox TV was also fined 3% of its advertisement revenue. According to RTÜK regulations, if Fox TV is fined again on the same violations, RTÜK can cancel its license to broadcast completely. RTÜK additionally fined Fox TV for another day-time programme for allegedly spreading “fake news” while reporting citizens’ struggle to get bread during lockdown. Other lawsuits were launched simultaneously following President Erdoğan’s criminal complaint over a tweet Portakal posted on the government’s COVID-19 donation campaign. Also, an indictment was submitted upon complaint of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) for defying the law on banking, requesting Portakal's imprisonment for up to three years.
Follow-ups
11 May 2020
OSCE Media Freedom Representative worried about media bans imposed by Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK)
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