The Turkish Red Crescent's delivery of gift boxes to journalists purchased with public funds has received widespread criticism after news broadcaster Habertürk's Mehmet Akif Ersoy shared a video of himself opening the promotional box on Jan. 6.
Financed by public donations and state funding, sending promotional materials to journalists is not a part of the Red Crescent's mission, prominent media ombudsman Faruk Bildirici said.
"Journalists who quietly accepted the gift and didn't oppose it essentially became accomplices," Bildirici said, adding that he asked Ersoy why he hadn't reported about the gift box on Habertürk instead of on social media.
Meanwhile, Ersoy noted in his video that it is companies who send out promotional materials since the act itself is profit-driven.
"They expect you to show it on your social media to give them [public relations]. But the Red Crescent doesn't need that, because we already give them whatever they need," Ersoy said.