The editors’ union of Turkey yesterday denounced the fines imposed by the country’s regulatory authority on four opposition television networks, saying they “criminalize the public’s right to information”.

The Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) targeted Tele 1, Fox, Halk and Flash Haber over comments made by some of their guests during the election period.

The president of the association, Nazmi Bilgin, emphasized that this is “an unacceptable violation of the public’s right to be informed and to make decisions about the elections based on this information.”

In the press release he published, he described the “merciless punishment of the right to freedom of expression” which “transforms the [ρυθμιστική] beginning as a tool of the government to silence the opposition and those who criticize it”.

The exact amount of the fines, which was not announced, is set based on the networks’ advertising revenue.

However, according to the representative of the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in Turkey, Erol Enderoglu, media close to the opposition “often” suffer fines completely “disproportionate to their income”.

RSF recalled that during the election campaign in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who was re-elected for a new five-year term on May 28 – had for a certain period sixty times more exposure than the opposition candidates on all Turkish television networks .