Turkey’s state broadcaster launches Russian news platform to fight ‘disinformation and manipulation’
Turkey's state-run Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) has started broadcasting news on its new Russian language platform that will play "an active role in fighting disinformation and manipulation as a reliable source of news in the Russophone world with its quality journalism." It will monitor "the pulse of the region through local correspondents in many localities over a wide geography and especially in Moscow."
Turkey’s media watchdog has penalized a program on the pro-government Ülke TV with a three-time broadcast cancellation over on-air comments of an Islamist TV commentator that her family would be able to “take out at least 50 [coup supporters]” if another coup attempt were to occur.
Turkey's Press Advertisment Agency (BİK) has imposed a 35-day ban on sending ads to the daily Cumhuriyet for reporting on an illegal construction facilitated by Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun on a patch of land that he rented in Istanbul. The Cumhuriyet article, which was used as the ground that the ban was justified, is currently inaccessible in Turkey without using a VPN.
A member of Turkey’s media watchdog council said that the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) attempts at manipulating the news cycle no longer worked. The councilman noted that Ankara’s media outlets are ineffective as there is a dramatic gap between their narrative and the reality of the citizens’ lives.
Evening news anchorman for FOX TV Fatih Portakal slammed pro-government news outlet Yeni Asır for their reporting that Portakal had illegal construction on his land in the western province of Izmir. Portakal said that the structures alleged to be illegal were a chicken coop, garage and a wooden deck, and slammed the news outlets for releasing the asdress and photos of his land and jeopardizing the safety of his family.
Dersim Mayor Mayor Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu claims that three leading pro-government news agencies in Turkey, have been imposing a de facto embargo on the province. Maçoğlu told the daily BirGün that although local reporters send their stories from Dersim, the headquarters would not publish them. Maçoğlu is the only mayor in the country elected from the Turkish Communist Party (TKP).
Istanbul prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Birgün columnist Erk Acarer over a report covering the funeral ceremony of an operative of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) killed in Libya. Acarer, who is now living in exile in Germany, is one of the eight journalists standing trial in the case.
Netflix has removed an episode of “Designated Survivor,” in which a fictitious Turkish president is portrayed as a villain, from its service in Turkey following a demand by the Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK). The episode in question, the seventh one of season two, is still available on Netflix in all other countries.
Turkey's media watchdog penalized a news show on the opposition news broadcaster Halk TV with a five-time broadcast cancellation and a monetary fine. A member of the watchdog council from the main opposition CHP İlhan Taşcı slammed the watchdog institution for what he deemed to be obvious bias.
Turkish prosecutors have sought a prison sentence of up to three years for journalist and news anchor Fatih Portakal, alleging that he broke the law in a Tweet which implied that the state was borrowing from banks amid economic difficulties exacerbated by the coronavirus epidemic. In their indictment, prosecutors accuse Portakal of violating banking legislation. Portakal hosts one of the most popular programs in the country is among the few dissenting voices that remain in mainstream media.
Four journalists of the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper have given their testimonies to the Istanbul police station over a news report concerning illegal construction undertaken by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s aide Fahrettin Altun on a land in Istanbul’s Kuzguncuk neighborhood. The journalists said that the news piece in question does not have "a purpose of showing Altun as a target" and "was penned for the purpose of journalism."
Turkey's Interior Ministry detained 402 social media users in the past 42 days, on the grounds that they made "provocative comments about COVID-19." The ministry inspected some 6,362 social media accounts, and deemed 855 users "suspicious."
Turkish daily Hürriyet has been subject to criticism over a letter suggesting that the newspaper has been publishing advertorials without placing the disclaimer of 'this is an advertisement.' The newspaper's editor-in-chief Ahmet Hakan has refuted the allegations, saying the letter in question was not printed by Hürriyet itself, but an ad agency, which the newspaper is now reconsidering working with.
Turkey ranked at 154 in a ranking of press freedoms in 180 countries, in decreasing order. Turkey's "the world’s biggest jailer of professional journalists," press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) noted in their annual World Press Freedom Index.
A court has blocked access to an online news article which had reported that the Istanbul municipality demolished illegal construction carried out by Turkey’s Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun in Istanbul's Kuzguncuk neighborhood.