Watchdog slaps ban and fine on FOX Turkey 

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Updated 18 April 2020

Watchdog slaps ban and fine on FOX Turkey 

  • Punitive measure provoked by anchorman Fatih Portakal’s critical reporting

ISTANBUL: The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK), Turkey’s top media watchdog, has issued FOX Turkey with a broadcast ban and fine as a result of anchorman Fatih Portakal’s critical reporting of the Turkish government’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

Portakal’s prime-time news show, which airs at 7 p.m. on weeknights, will not be broadcast for three days, and FOX Turkey has been fined 3 percent of the show’s daily advertising revenue. The RTUK has also threatened to ban the show entirely if Portakal continues to be critical of the government’s response to COVID-19.

The International Press Institute (IPI) — a global network of journalists, editors and media executives — issued a statement condemning the RTUK’s decision.

Portakal, a popular host, is a staunch critic of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government. He was a roommate of Istanbul’s secular metropolitan mayor Ekrem Imamoglu in college.

In early April, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Portakal of “spreading lies and manipulating the public on social media” after he implied in a Tweet that the state might ask citizens to contribute savings to the government-initiated nationwide anti-coronavirus campaign. Portakal also faces charges of “insulting the president.” He will stand trial in the near future.

Erdogan had referred in a speech to past National Tax orders in Turkey, implying that previous governments had issued similar requests when faced with extraordinary conditions.

Portakal tweeted: “I am wondering if they will also ask for money from those who have deposits or savings by reminding them of the National Tax orders and saying ‘We are going through difficult days.’ Unfortunately, I cannot say that this won’t happen.”


MBC exec Johannes Larcher appointed head of HBO Max International

Updated 10 July 2020

MBC exec Johannes Larcher appointed head of HBO Max International

  • He will join the business in August and oversee the global rollout of the new streaming service
  • In addition to the experience he gained at MBC, Larcher has worked for Yahoo, Hulu and Lionsgate International

DUBAI: Johannes Larcher, the managing director of MBC Group’s streaming service Shahid, has been appointed head of HBO Max International.
He will join the business in August and oversee the global rollout of the new streaming service, which launched in the US on May 27. The first international version of the service is expected to debut in Latin America in 2021.
In addition to the experience he gained at MBC, Larcher has worked for Yahoo, Hulu and Lionsgate International. He also led start-ups Academy123 and Pikum, which were acquired by Discovery Communications and Sportech respectively.
“Living at the crossroads of digital technology and content, I’m thrilled to help create unforgettable entertainment experiences for consumers in international markets and make HBO Max an indispensable streaming service around the world,” he said.
In his new role, Larcher will report to Gerhard Zeiler, WarnerMedia’s chief revenue officer and president of WarnerMedia International Networks.
“I got to know Johannes as a passionate entrepreneur,” said Zeiler. “His leadership skills, together with his strong direct-to-consumer and digital experience, international business foundations and tech expertise give him the perfect background to drive the growth of HBO Max beyond the US.”