15/04/2020 | Writer: Kaos GL

RTÜK wants to carry on its anti-LGBTI+ and discriminatory censorship tradition that it has been carrying out systematically over the years to the internet.

Kaos GL: RTÜK keep your hands off from LGBTI+s Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

Kaos GL, criticized Ebubekir Şahin, the President of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), targeting LGBTI+s in coordination with the hatred of Yeni Akit newspaper. The association calls the Chairperson to apologize from LGBTI+s and stop censorship. 

Kaos GL made a press statement regarding RTÜK’s President Ebubekir Şahin’s hate speech and threats towards LGBTI+s. Stressing that RTÜK's LGBTI+ opposition and censorship is not new, Kaos GL said: "Censorship is moved to the internet platforms."

Stating that RTÜK’s President committed a hate crime by targeting LGBTI+s, Kaos GL calls for an “End to Censorship”.

The full statement is as follows:

RTÜK Keep Your Hands Off from LGBTI+s!

After some claims in social media that there is a gay character in Aşk 101 (Love 101) - a series to be published in Netflix, we have faced with cyber bullying and hatred campaign lasted for days. In these days when we struggle against Covid-19, these hatred and smear campaigns targeting LGBTI+s and their fundamental rights reveal the discrimination against LGBTI+s one more time.

Unsurprisingly, pro-government conservative newspaper Yeni Akit that made targeting LGBTI+s as a habit were among the ones organizing and spreading this hatred campaign. Supporting the hate campaign started towards Aşk 101 with the hashtags #netflixadamol (Netflix be a man) by troll and bot accounts, Yeni Akit made a news about the series named “Net Provocation” on April 11. In the article, they continue their cliché hateful attitude as “homosexual perverts”. They also hand the microphone to RTÜK’s President Ebubekir Şahin. According to Yeni Akit’s claim Şahin said, “We warned Aşk 101 team, and we keep an eye on them. Our redlines are obvious. We are determined to prevent immorality. As RTÜK board, we are determined to prevent any content that can annoy our society to be broadcasted.”

RTÜK President committed a crime!

If what is written in Yeni Akit is real and if RTÜK’s President really used these expressions, the President Ebubekir Şahin committed a crime on the grounds of anti-discrimination and equality principles of Turkish Constitution. By saying “immorality”, he obviously discriminated the representation of LGBTI+s in media and he also provided a ground for hatred campaigns against LGBTI+s continuing on social media. RTÜK’s President Şahin contributed Yeni Akit’s production, spread and promotion of hate speech campaigns.

RTÜK’s duty is not censoring LGBTI+s with discriminative motivations. RTÜK’s duty is to ensure that the publications do not violate the principle of respect for human dignity and privacy in accordance with its founding law and to prevent publications that discriminate and degrade individuals for “gender and similar” reasons.

RTÜK’s President legitimizes Yeni Akit’s discriminations and stigmatizations, and targets LGBTI+s living in this country.

RTÜK’s LGBTI+phobia is nothing new!

Unfortunately, this statement is not the first LGBTI+phobia of RTÜK. In the previous years, RTÜK imposed some sanctions to Modern Family published in beIN Series HD Comedy on the grounds that “there are some individuals living in a gay marriage” (in 2019); to 9-1-1 TV series published in FOX Life on the grounds of “inappropriate display of two elderly men” (in 2019); and to the videoclip of P!nk’s song “Secrets” on the grounds of “there are homosexual-like dance moves” (in 2018). These are just a few examples of RTÜK’s LGBTI+phobic policies.

RTÜK both ignores LGBTI+s and prevents equal representation of LGBTI+s with its decisions based on the principles of “national and moral values of the society”, “general morality and protection of the family”.

Censorship is moved to internet platforms

With the “Regulation on the Presentation of Radio, Television and Optional Broadcasts via the Internet” published in the Official Gazette on August 1, 2019, RTÜK has made it obligatory to obtain a broadcast license from their institutions for media service providers who want to offer their broadcast services only from the internet. Thus, the risk of RTÜK’s censorship has emerged for platforms that can be freed from their censorship and perform relatively free publishing.

It is understood from the threat of RTÜK’s President that RTÜK wants to carry on its anti-LGBTI+ and discriminatory censorship tradition that it has been carrying out systematically over the years to the internet. We remind RTÜK’s President Şahin that this censorship is a great obstacle in front of the freedom of expression and that he also commits a crime of discrimination.

End Censorship!

As Kaos GL Association, we urge all public, especially other members of RTÜK, to react to these censorship calls and LGBTI+ opposition. We urge the President of RTÜK to apologize for his discriminatory statements, to stop using RTÜK as a LGBTI+phobic censorship tool and to act as a mechanism to control human rights violations of public institutions, and to take action against this discrimination: RTÜK Keep your hands off from LGBTI+s!

Translation: Damla Umut Uzun

Tags: human rights, media