Broadcast media is regulated and supervised by the Radio and Television Supreme Council (“RTUK”), an autonomous and impartial public legal entity. The RTUK regulates and supervises the radio, television and on-demand media services, and examines broadcasts, as well as advertisements, in light of the provisions of Broadcasting Law No. 6112. The RTUK recently rendered an important decision against the abuse of women and gender inequality. The RTUK ‘s decision concerned TV series broadcasted on a national channel in Turkey and imposed a monetary sanction on the broadcasting institution because scenes of physical and psychological violence against women for their contradiction of gender equality and encouragement of pressuring women to rely on stereotypes of virginity.
The scenes and dialogues including showing a mother forcing her daughter to wear a chastity device throughout her entire life from her childhood onwards and beating her in front of her friends for removing the device were found to be violating broadcasting principles. The RTUK decided that the scenes displaying a mother putting excessive pressure on her daughter since her childhood, encouraging extreme conservatism and the preservation of her virginity as part of their honor, and telling her to not commit any sin which would otherwise harm herself and her mother constituted psychological violence towards women.
Significantly, the RTUK stated that forcing women to submit to a virginity test is a most crucial example of gender-based violence. Besides, it is noted that the Turkish Medical Association describes it as a humiliation to an individual’s mental and sentimental integrity. The RTUK concluded that even though TV series are fictive works, broadcasting shows that encourage pressure on women and exploitation of women do not comply with public responsibility understanding.
Due to the above-mentioned reasons, the RTUK took into consideration the seriousness of the violation and medium and imposed a monetary sanction on the broadcasting organization for violating the rule prohibiting shows that contradict gender equality and encourage the oppression of women and exploit women as per Article 8/1(s) of the Broadcasting Law No. 6112.