Regulator stings Turkey’s Fox TV after Erdogan tells anchor: “Know your place, immoral and imprudent person”

By bne IntelliNews February 1, 2019

Fiery anchor Fatih Portakal told viewers: "Mr President believes what he says, that people can freely protest. I don't think it's true." Image source, Screen grab.

Three evening news programmes of the Turkish sister channel of US broadcaster Fox TV were suspended by Turkey's Radio and Television Supreme Council in a move that came after a fiery anchor drew President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ire, according to Middle East Eye (MEE).

Fatih Portakal upset Turkey’s strongman leader when, drawing inspiration from France's yellow vest protest movement, he called on viewers to demonstrate in the streets.

"Mr President believes what he says, that people can freely protest. I don't think it's true. Let's peacefully protest the natural gas price hikes then,” Portakal said. “How many people would actually get out into the streets? How many of them wouldn’t be afraid of getting beaten?"

A few days later, Erdogan responded with wrath, saying: "Know your place, immoral and imprudent person. Otherwise people will slap you."

Subsequently, the broadcasting regulator made its move to suspend the news programmes of Fox TV, bought by Rupert Murdoch for only $96mn in 2006 and now a leading free to air channel in Turkey.

MEE cited Erol Onderoglu, the Turkey representatıve for Reporters Without Borders, as reportedly saying last summer that with the sale of Turkey’s largest medıa group Dogan to a government-friendly businessman, the Turkish government now controls more than 85% of national mainstream media.

Turkey, meanwhile, has become the world’s biggest jailer of journalists. A report last year by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said there were at least 68 journalists "jailed for their work" in Turkey.

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