Halk TV, Tele 1 and Fox TV have been fined and suspended from broadcasting some programs for “the information and comments they put out about the earthquake,” elected opposition RTUK member Ilkhan Tashi tweeted. Halk TV and Télé 1 have been fined 5 percent of their January billing and the authorities have decided to suspend one of their daily programs for five days. Another fine of 3 percent of January billing was also imposed, in addition to Halk TV and separately to Fox TV. All three channels are known for their editorial lines critical of the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with Halk TV being particularly close to the main opposition party, the CHP.
The president of the Turkish Association of Journalists, Nazmi Bilgin, quoted by AFP, described these sanctions as a manifestation of censorship.
The Turkish government is being heavily criticized by the opposition and independent media for its failure to respond in the early days in communities devastated by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted last week “loopholes” in the organization of aid, while insisting on the “monstrosity of the earthquake.”