Tintin cartoon smokers cost Turkish TV $33,000

Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:33pm EST
 
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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A classic Tintin cartoon in which characters smoked pipes and cigars cost a television station $33,000, after Turkey's state media regulator fined it for violating an anti-tobacco law that bans smoking on air.

The Higher Board of Radio and Television (RTUK) fined private broadcaster TV8 50,000 lira for airing scenes in November from a Tintin cartoon that showed characters smoking, according to a ruling published on the watchdog's website.

RTUK fined at least five other television stations for similar offences, its website said. Nurullah Ozturk, a RTUK official, confirmed the fine when reached by telephone.

Turkish television stations usually pixelate images of cigarettes and other forms of smoking in films and series to abide by a 2008 law that makes it illegal to broadcast such scenes.

The government last year extended the ban to smoking in all public buildings, including restaurants and bars. Almost half of Turks aged 15 to 49 smoke, according to a 2007 Gallup survey.

(Reporting by Hamdi Istanbullu and Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Jon Boyle)