Data refutes Turkish media watchdog head’s claim of ‘not discriminating’ against broadcasters

The president of the Turkish Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK), Ebubekir Şahin, claimed in an interview that the council does not discriminate against news and television channels. CHP RTÜK member İlhan Taşçı begged to differ as he showed with data that exclusively opposition-leaning television channels are imposed penalties.

The head of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), Ebubekir Şahin, is seen in this file photo.

Duvar English

In an interview with the pro-government Sabah newspaper, head of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) Ebubekir Şahin said that when levying punishment the council does not consider whether channels are pro- or anti- the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party.

Member of RTÜK affiliated with the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), İlhan Taşçı countered the claim on social media. Using data of punishments levied by RTÜK, Taşçı demonstrated that solely opposition channels are punished and censored.

According to data shared by Taşçı in response to Şahin’s claims, pro-government channel A Haber has received no punishments from RTÜK in 2021, while pro-opposition Halk TV has received 18. The next two most punished channels - Tele 1 and Fox TV - also lean pro-opposition. In comparison, pro-government outlets - A Haber and Kanal7 - have received no punishment so far this year. 

In the Sabah interview, Şahin said that opposition channels were simply making themselves out to be victims when they are punished. 

“The opposition makes themselves out to be victims when they are punished,” he said. “This is an attempt at changing people’s perspectives. They also insist on making mistakes. They are chasing ratings.”

Taşçı said the RTÜK head was blatantly lying. It was as simple as looking at the data from 2021 punishments, he said, to see that RTÜK is discriminating.