RTÜK fines three TV outlets over coverage of İstanbul mayor’s trial, one over the host “praising terrorism with mimics” during a program

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) penalized TV channels Halk TV, TELE1 and FOX TV, with monetary fines and broadcast bans after covering the sentencing of the İstanbul mayor.

Yesterday (December 21), RTÜK and CHP member İlhan Taşçı wrote on Twitter that RTÜK fined Halk TV’s Medya Mahallesi (Media Quarter) program, hosted by Aysenur Arslan, with suspensions and a 3-percent administrative fine, based on “praising terrorism with mimics.”

Aysenur Arslan, who received a three-day ban for her gestures, mocked the decision on Twitter. “Currently, I am practicing facial expressions in front of the mirror at home. Tomorrow I will make an RTÜK gesture.”

TELE 1 was given a similar 3 percent administrative fine. Two of its commentators Prof. Dr. Emre Kongar and Merdan Yanardağ, described the verdict of Imamoğlu as a “blow to the will of the people.” The İstanbul mayor is considered to be one of the potential presidential candidates for the upcoming 2023 presidential elections, with surveys from Metropoll indicating that the Imamoğlu would win with a 0.9 percent when running against current president Erdoğan.

İmamoğlu was on December 14 sentenced to 2 years and 7 months in prison for “insulting” the country’s top election officials

FOX TV’s ‘also received a 3 percent penalty for “Çalar Saat” (Alarm Clock). On the program, Sera Kadıgil, a member of Türkiye’s labor party, stated, “If he (Erdoğan) ever sets foot into a market, he would be ashamed to say this”, referring to remarks of President Erdoğan about the economy.

In recent years, RTÜK’s decisions have become increasingly criticized. The media board is often accused of penalizing independent or critical news outlets. According to Bianet’s own media monitoring database, RTÜK in 2021 imposed 158 administrative fines and 48 program and broadcast suspensions on audiovisual media, primarily television channels. Especially channels such as Fox TV, Halk TV, Tele1, and KRT received fees.