TODAY’S – Gov’t legislation aims to control ads in media

Gov’t legislation aims to control ads in mediaIn what is feared to be the latest in a series of maneuvers to tighten the government’s grip on the media — particularly outlets with critical views — Parliament has recently approved changes to a law regulating aertisements in the mediaA recent government change to the law enables the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to arbitrarily intervene in commercial aertising that appears in media outlets, newspapers, magazines and TV stations by censoring certain aertisements. Turkey introduced a series of changes to the law regulating consumer rights in May.

An additional change to the state’s auditing of aertisements appearing in the media has separately passed through Parliament, opening the way for wider government control over the media Media experts have warned that this will mean more arbitrary intervention in the media from the government. Observers have argued that the government will target the opposition media by obstructing important aertising deals, which are the main source of income for many outlets.

Following the changes, the Ministry of Customs and Trade’s Board of Aertisements has had its number of members reduced to 19 from 29. Effectively, the government has reduced the number of NGO representatives at the Board of Aertisements and will now appoint its own members.

Various media representatives have complained that there is tremendous government pressure on the Turkish media, adding that the ruling party has meddled in their publications on a daily basis. The government’s use of tax fines and inspections to clamp down on political dissent is not new in Turkey, and the media has been suffering from similar pressure.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman