“Justice and Development Party (AK Party) İstanbul deputy Oktay Saral has drafted a law proposal in an attempt to ban dramas that “distort or change historical realities” and depict them differently.
The move came after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent scathing remarks over a TV drama, “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (Magnificent Century), which portrays the life and luxuries of Süleyman the Magnificent. Erdoğan accused the series of distorting historical facts.
In his remarks which appeared in the Hürriyet daily on Wednesday, Saral said a final version of the proposal is almost ready and will be submitted to the party management this week. “There might be additions later or it may not even be accepted. We’ll consider what to do then,” he said.
As to the reason behind the move, Saral explained: “Of course there are both negative and positive events in the history of every society. We don’t sanctify everything in our history or say they are all correct and reasonable. But depicting unreal events about our historic personalities as though such events were true may lead to a breakaway from history — we are concerned about that.”
Saral suggests making an addition to a clause in Article 8 of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) law, which states that media service providers are prohibited from encouraging crimes, praising criminals and criminal organizations and providing information on how to commit a crime.
The proposed addition is as follows: Broadcasted programs are banned from “insulting, humiliating or distorting” historical events that are accepted in accordance with society’s national values and the widely accepted facts about historical personalities.
Should the proposal be submitted to Parliament by the ruling AK Party, there will be no obstacle to banning the popular “Muhteşem Yüzyıl.”
Meanwhile, RTÜK recently decided to fine a television channel for insulting religious values after it aired an episode of the hit US animated TV series “The Simpsons,” which shows God taking orders from the devil. The radio and television watchdog said it was fining the private broadcaster CNBC-e TL 52,951 ($30,000) for the episode in question, whose scenes included the devil asking God to make him coffee. “The board decided to fine the channel over this matter,” an RTÜK spokeswoman said but declined further comment, saying full details would most likely be announced next week. CNBC-e said it would comment once the fine was officially announced.
RTÜK: Experts watching ‘Muhteşem Yüzyıl’ closely
In a statement released on Wednesday, RTÜK said it is closely watching the controversial soup opera “Muhteşem Yüzyıl,” though it denied reports that the future of the popular drama is being discussed by the board. Recalling that the drama had been fined and warned once because of many complaints by viewers, the statement said unless the drama violates an RTÜK law, it will not be part of the board’s discussions. RTÜK also dismissed claims that several board members had made a move to discuss the future of the drama but that an AK Party-appointed member prevented it.”