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Television station fined for broadcasting discussion on homosexuality

(BIANET/IFEX) - The LambdaIstanbul Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Solidarity Association has protested against a fine issued by the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) to the HabertUrk television station after the station broadcast a discussion on homosexuality.

The members of the association called on RTUK president Davut Dursun to apologise for putting forward that the programme on the subject constituted a breach of the national and moral values of society and of the Turkish family structure.

"With this decision, RTUK is trying to prevent the broadcasting of any programme related to homosexuality on television," LambdaIstanbul said. The association invited all television channels to protest the RTUK decision and to take a stance against discrimination and hate speech. "We are looking for ten television stations to announce that the 'discussion' on homosexuality is just as 'normal' and ordinary as any discussion about heterosexuality, in order to give answer to these primitive statements that are not based on scientific fact," the organisation stated.

RTUK had previously issued a warning to the ATV television station for showing two men in bed in the series "Day of the Sword" ("Kilic GUnU"). LGBT associations have pointed out that these scenes do not go beyond ordinary scenes of heterosexuality. The associations criticised the issuing of a warning based exclusively on the portrayal of homosexual characters in the series.

The LGBT associations have also emphasised that these types of incidents deepen discrimination and violence against LGBT individuals. The topic has been discussed on several television stations.

Actor Onur Aycelik, who plays a homosexual character in "Day of the Sword", appeared on the programme entitled "Ankara Report" on HabertUrk. It was announced this week that RTUK fined the television station because of the programme.

RTUK president Dursun expressed his opinion in writing, stating, "It was emphasised that the dialogues in the programme put forward that homosexuality should be accepted as normal, that this was a process and that the scenes in the programme supported a perception by the public of homosexuality as normal. The broadcast tried to legitimise these kinds of relations and show them as normal. This has been evaluated as being harmful to the Turkish family structure, constituting a breach of the national and moral values of society."

LambdaIstanbul stressed the following points:
- The existence of LGBT individuals was denied by the RTUK warning. The fine will be reflected in society by an increase in discrimination against LGBT individuals.
- RTUK president Dursun's statement is out of line with scientific fact and is full of superstition. The American Psychological Association (APA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) "explicitly" define homosexuality as not being a disease. The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has also announced several times that homosexuality is not a disease.
- The RTUK issued a fine for a discussion on homosexuality. The RTUK president expressed his unease about the possibility of perceiving homosexuality as "normal". They announced homosexuality to be a disease and are themselves accomplices in the discrimination against LGBT individuals.

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