High Election Board to keep election broadcast violation authority after Turkish Parliament debate
Hacer Boyacıoğlu ANKARAA controversial clause granting Turkey’s media watchdog the authority to fine TV channels that violate election broadcast limitations, while de-authorizing the High Election Board (YSK), has been withdrawn from the related omnibus bill at parliament.
The clause on transferring the punishment authority for election broadcast limitations from the YSK to the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK), which was sent to parliament in an omnibus bill that is being debated at the Planning and Budget Commission, was withdrawn from the bill late on March 12, after an agreement was reached among deputies.
The law had foreseen RTÜK taking over the authority to issue warnings and fines to broadcasters for election violations from the YSK.
As well as granting RTÜK the authority, the amendment also aimed to remove the clause stating that privately owned radio stations and broadcasters must obey the principle of not being “an instrument for the benefit of political parties, groups, interest groups, beliefs and thoughts.”
Currently, RTÜK reports violations to the YSK and if the latter deems that a violation has been committed it must fine the broadcaster within 12 days.
When the clause had first come to parliament, the opposition parties reacted against it strongly and claimed that it was a move to protect pro-government broadcasters.
Ali Öztunç, an RTÜK member from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) quota, said the changes marked “an intervention into objective broadcasting.” Esat Çıplak, an RTÜK member from the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) quota, warned of the dangers of “unilateralism” and also predicted that pro-government TV channels may not be fined after the new regulation enters into force.