Turkey’s media watchdog restricts ‘breaking news’ on TV channels

Turkey’s media watchdog, the Supreme Council of Radio and Television (RTÜK), has put restrictions to broadcast ‘breaking news” on TV channels.  RTÜK has distributed a ‘memorandum’ to the executives of 13 private TV channels. The memorandum is outlining certain rules and restrictions to follow during covering ‘emergency incidents’ taking place in the country under the state of emergency.

The executives of the TV channels were especially warned by RTÜK over broadcasting ‘breaking news’ with regards to ‘incidents threatening national security,’ such as terror attacks.

According to the memorandum, TV stations will not be allowed to broadcast any footage or information about the location of the incident both during and immediately after it happens. The people affected during the incident as well as any witnesses talking about the incident will not be allowed to be broadcasted either. The RTÜK memorandum limited broadcasting only with the information given by relevant officials assigned by the Prime Minister to report on the incident.

Reporters and anchors have been also asked to stay away from making statements or comments that could be considered as ‘exaggeration or agitation.’ Furthermore, names of any possible perpetrators of a terror attack – terrorist organizations or suspected individuals/groups – could not be mentioned during the broadcasting.

According to recently released ranking by Freedom House, Turkey has shared the second most dramatic decline in freedoms in the last decade with African nation Gambia. Turkey received a minus 28 score point in aggregate data of the last ten years along with Gambia, following Central African Republic (CAR) that received the most drop with minus 30 point.


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