Turkey’ TV watchdog refuses to fine channel over drug offering scene
In a scene of “Fugitive” (Kaçak), aired on private broadcaster ATV on Jan. 13, a man directly suggested a girl use Bonzai.Turkey’s media watchdog, which frequently occupies headlines for its fines on channels due to “inconvenient” contexts, has once again raised eyebrows, but this time for refusing to issue a fine for a TV drama in which the name of a synthetic drug, Bonzai, was apparently used in a scene.
In a scene of “Fugitive” (Kaçak), aired on private broadcaster ATV on Jan. 13, a man directly suggested a girl use Bonzai, a drug which has lately become a major threat in the country through its growing number of its users, predominately in Istanbul.
The Monitoring and Evaluating Office of the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) has prepared a report over the drama, requesting a fine be issued for ATV for airing the scene during the early hours of the day when children could easily watch the program. The office said the move did not comply with the principle of broadcasters’ responsibility as media outlets to cooperate in the fight against social problems.
However, the fine was rejected by the Supreme Board with the help of three of its members from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who objected to the fine, according to daily Cumhuriyet. The head of the board, Davut Dursun, two members from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and one member from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) voted in favor of the fine, but failed to reach the necessary minimum requirements of five affirmative votes to issue a fine. The owners of ATV are known with their close ties with the government.
CHP member Süleyman Demirkan reacted to the result, recalling Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s recent remarks over a bill for a domestic security package, which also arranges new measures in the fight against drugs.
Demirkan accused the board members of rejecting the fine because of the owners’ close ties with the government.
RTÜK has fined channels for displays of smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages and scenes of sexuality.
One of its controversial fines was over dialogue between two women who were talking about strawberry-flavored contraceptive, in a scene from a series titled “Oh, We Women” (Ah Biz Kadınlar), which aired on the TV 2 station.
The body also raised eyebrows by going into the salacious details of a kiss scene in a TV drama, which it described as “lip-o-suction.”