Turkey fines TV channel for "The Simpsons" blasphemy

Mon Dec 3, 2012 9:45am EST
 
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By Ece Toksabay

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's broadcasting regulator is fining a television channel for insulting religious values after it aired an episode of "The Simpsons" which shows God taking orders from the devil.

Radio and television watchdog RTUK said it was fining private broadcaster CNBC-e 52,951 lira ($30,000) over the episode of the hit U.S. animated TV series, whose scenes include the devil asking God to make him a coffee.

"The board has decided to fine the channel over these matters," an RTUK spokeswoman said but declined further comment, saying full details would probably be announced next week.

CNBC-e said it would comment once the fine was officially announced.

Turkey is a secular republic but most of its 75 million people are Muslim. Religious conservatives and secular opponents vie for public influence and critics of the government say it is trying to impose Islamic values by stealth.

Elected a decade ago with the strongest majority seen in years, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party have overseen a period of unprecedented prosperity in Turkey. But concerns are growing about authoritarianism.

Erdogan last week tore into a chart-topping soap opera about the Ottoman Empire's longest-reigning Sultan and the broadcasting regulator has warned the show's makers about insulting a historical figure.

"The Simpsons" first aired in 1989 and is the longest-running U.S. sitcom. It is broadcast in more than 100 countries and CNBC-e has been airing it in Turkey for almost a decade.   Continued...

 
Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons," (3rd L) poses on his star with voice actors Nancy Cartwright (2nd L), Hank Azaria (2nd R), Yeardley Smith (3rd R) and characters Homer (R) and Bart Simpson after the star was unveiled on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California February 14, 2012. Cartwright, Azaria and Smith are the voices of various characters in "The Simpsons". REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni