Şaban Yılmaz, the General Director of Prisons and Detention Houses of the Ministry of Justice of Turkey, sent a letter to the Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK), requesting necessary precautions to be taken against a TV show soon to be aired that allegedly showed prison staff as torturers, and prisons as torture chambers.
A new TV series named “Avlu” (“The Yard”), which is about the life of a group of women in prison, is soon to debut on a private TV channel in Turkey. However, on watching the trailer of the show, Şaban Yılmaz penned a letter to the RTÜK, claiming that the show would make prisons look like torture chambers. Yılmaz also alleged in his letter that, “especially in these times when prisons are more and more crowded every day because of the increasing number of terrorist acts, airing of such shows creates an effect that induces both institutional and social tension.”
The RTÜK, on the other hand, was reported not to have put the letter on the agenda.
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been a strong enforcer of censorship both on TV and the Internet. A huge wave of protests raised against the government back in 2011 is still widely remembered.
The government, however, passed a legislation in February that would allow the RTÜK to give and cancel the licence for broadcasts on the Internet, as well as the TV and radio. This act was seen as another step to suppress the opposition to the government, since the bag law draft predicted inspection and censoring of every regular broadcast on the Internet, whether it be a news report or an entertainment show.
Another TV series was penalised by the RTÜK in February. Comparing the TV and the Internet versions of the same episodes of the show, the RTÜK penalised the show for using heavy language on the Internet version.
In the beginning of March, moreover, a member of the RTÜK explained that they would monitor and inspect broadcasters such as Netflix and its Turkish counterparts such as Puhu TV and BluTV.