Turkey's broadcasting watchdog issues warning over flooding coverage

Turkey's broadcasting watchdog has ordered TV networks to exercise restraint in their coverage of flooding in the country’s northern Black Sea region.

Networks should be more "deliberate’’in their coverage of the deadly floods and abstain from disseminating  “misinformation’’ over the disasters that have devastated Kastamonu, Bartın and Sinop provinces, RTÜK chairman Ebubekir Şahin said on Twitter on Friday.

The death toll from severe coastal flooding and mudslides has reached at least 51, Turkey's disaster agency said on Saturday.  Hundreds of people have been reported missing after torrential rains over Bartın, Kastamonu and Sinop on Wednesday caused flooding that demolished homes, severing at least five bridges and turning numerous roads impassable.

Şahin’s warning arrives as Turkish authorities have disputed the number of reported missing persons.

The RTÜK chairman pointed that media outlets should be ethical in their coverage of the flooding, as is expected during the deadly wildfires that began almost three weeks ago and are continuing to wreak havoc on parts of the country. 

The watchdog’s notice sent earlier this month to the country’s broadcasters accused some stations of promoting "chaos,’’ adding that stations found in violation of broadcasting principles would receive the "harshest penalties.’’

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