Haram: Turkey Fines Music Channels for Playing Rihanna Hits

TOPSHOT - Singer/actress Rihanna attends the World Premiere of OCEANS 8 June 5, 2018 in New York. - OCEANS 8 will be released nationwide on June 8, 2018. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

The most prominent media watchdog group in Turkey reportedly slapped unprecedented fines this week on Turkish music channels for playing songs by Barbadian pop star Rihanna, branding her music “inappropriate.”

Hurriyet Daily News confirms:

Turkey’s top media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), reviewed the English-language lyrics of pop songs, including Rihanna’s, and issued hefty fines after concluding that they were inappropriate, daily Hürriyet columnist Cengiz Semercioğlu reported on June 7.

“RTÜK issued a 17,065 Turkish Lira fine to the music channels NR1 and Dream TV due to the lyrics of ‘Wild Thoughts’ and the same amount of fine to Power TV due to the lyrics of ‘Sex, Love and Water,’” Semercioğlu wrote.

Hurriyet Daily News acknowledged that the fines mark the first time that the Turkish media watchdog targeted the lyrics of an English-language song and speculated that, should the RTÜK routinely target English-language songs for “improper” lyrics, they may ban all of them, leaving behind no songs to play:

Turkish music channels have been censoring foreign music videos for a long time now. For example, they routinely remove sexy dance scenes [to avoid hefty RTÜK fines]. This is the first time that RTÜK issued a fine over the English lyrics of a song.

The media watchdog organization failed to specify which lyrics it found inappropriate for children and the youth.

Under President Erdogan, Turkey has been further slipping into an Islamic authoritarian state, limiting the freedoms of various citizens, particularly through the crackdown against thousands who allegedly dared try to overthrow the president in 2016 to no avail.

In July 2016, the Atlantic warned:

The authoritarian approach to politics that Erdogan has pursued for the better part of the last decade seems destined to accelerate after last week’s failed coup d’état, as the president directs a widespread crackdown against his enemies, both real and perceived. Turkey today looks less like a liberal European democracy and more like the kind of one-man autocracy commonly found in the Middle East.

Turkey’s descent into authoritarianism seems unrelenting.

Citing Alice Beale wrote in a blog for British political magazine the Spectator, the Ahval notes, “Erdoğan has gone from being a Democrat to being a dictator.”

“Focusing on the fate of journalists in Turkey, which according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has more reporters in jail than any other country, Beale was sharply critical of the Turkish government,” Ahval adds.


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