Turkish TV watchdog RTUK has today fined five TV channels for publishing reports on forest fires in the country. The official Anadolu news agency reported that the channels were said to have “provoked fear and panic” among the public and “offended government officials”.
RTUK head Ibobker Sahin said on Twitter that FOX TV, KRT, TELE 1, Halk TV and Haber Turk had been fined for spreading “misinformation” about the bushfires “despite all warnings”.
According to Anadolu Agency, the fine comes after “insulting, offensive and defamatory” comments criticizing the government’s response to the fires.
RTUK member Ilhan Tasky said the media watchdog had already threatened sanctions against broadcasters last week for their live on-site coverage of the fires, which could be frustrating for firefighters and residents. He said he was not welcome at the meeting about the fines on Wednesday because he “revealed the censorship.”
Turkey has been battling for two weeks what the government calls “the worst fires in history”. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is under increasing criticism for his handling of the fires. The president described this criticism as “terrorism through lies.”
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