Social media users and bloggers may face fines over alcoholic drink photos

Social media users and bloggers may face fines over alcoholic drink photos

Social media users and bloggers may face fines over alcoholic drink photos

A new law paves the way for fines to be handed out for pictures of alcoholic beverages shared on social media websites or blogs. Cheers!

Social media users and bloggers in Turkey will now have to think twice before uploading their pictures while casually toasting with friends or wishing each other the traditional “Aspava” (May God give you health, money, love, amen!).

After restricting the sale and promotion of alcoholic beverages, the government is now getting ready to chase down those who share pictures that may suggest advertising for alcohol brands.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and especially blogs have become a refuge for alcohol companies to promote their products after all kinds of advertising, including sponsorship of cultural events, were controversially outlawed last year.

According daily Hürriyet, the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority (TAPDK) will fine both users and brands that promote an alcoholic beverage to consumers through posts between 5,000 and 200,000 Turkish Lira.

On paper, users who share pictures with their friends, on one of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, cannot be fined, even if the brands of alcoholic beverages are visible, as those are strictly unpaid.

But paid adverts, especially on blogs, will be included in the regulation. According to the report, alcoholic brands have become an important financial tool for bloggers who can earn between 10,000 and 15,000 Turkish Liras for their promotion.

‘Tipsy youth’

Profiles created for the promotion of alcoholic products are also generating considerable revenue, the report said. Some have opened pages such as “The only thing to do after work on Fridays” or “How to refresh during a warm summer day,” which can reach thousands of people every day. Pictures containing the name of some alcoholic brands have been posted under the topics.

The restrictive bill adopted last May caused much outcry as it also banned sales of alcohol between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. It came after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opened a war against alcohol, condemning “tipsy and wasted youth,” and promoting the yoghurt-loaded salty-sour beverage “ayran” as the new “national drink” in place of the more festive choice, rakı.

“Some people want to drink vodka or beer. But my grandfather told me to drink ayran,” Erdoğan said during a notorious speech last year.

“The youth who goes to universities to be enlightened returns home drunk. Instead of carrying a computer he takes a döner knife and attacks his friends, because he is tipsy,” he said, explaining his the harms of alcohol.

Licenses to sell alcohol are obtained by the TAPDK, under the condition that they obtain a license to open up a business from the municipality before receiving a tourism certificate from the Culture and Tourism Ministry. Before granting a license, municipalities must consult with authorized law enforcement forces.