Friday, December 07, 2012

TV Channel Fined For Airing Blasphemous "Simpsons" Episode

I don't think I've ever watched an episode of 'The Simpsons', and other than Homer's famous "Doh" I don't know much about it, but apparently the Turkish people do. They've been watching for almost ten years now. But the TV station that airs the adult cartoon series, CNBC-e, will have to fork over £18,600 after being fined for an episode that was deemed blasphemous by "making fun of God, encouraging the young people to exercise violence by showing the murders as God's orders."

The Halloween special "Treehouse of Horrors XXII"  that aired on September 20 in Turkey had actually aired last year in the U.S.

 In one segment of the episode, titled "Dial D for Diddly", the religiously-devout character Ned Flanders goes on a killing rampage after being given orders by what he thinks is the voice of God. Later in the episode, the Devil demands God bring him a cup of coffee. "Yes sir," God responds, revealing it is actually the Devil that runs the world.

According to RTUK, the state broadcasting regulator the entity that fined CNBC-e:

.. the episode shows "one of the characters is abusing another one's religious beliefs to make him commit murders.

The Bible is publicly burned in one scene and God and the Devil are shown in human bodies."

RTUK also said that God serving the Devil coffee can be considered an insult to religious beliefs.

Mehmet Yilmaz of the Hurriyet newspaper said of the fine:

"I wonder what the script writers will do when they hear that the jokes on their show are taken seriously and trigger fines in a country called Turkey. Maybe they will add an almond-moustached RTUK expert to the series," he added, evoking a popular Turkish stereotype of a pious government supporter.

One of the few, democratic, secular Muslim-majority nations in that region- thanks to its founder and first President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk- it is slowly creeping away from the secular roots that Atatürk fought so hard to maintain, mostly because of the current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a devout, conservative Muslim.

But it's not just mocking religion that can get you in hot water in Turkey, a popular Turkish soap opera was targeted for depicting the famed 16th century Ottoman Sultan "Suleiman the Magnificent" (the one who orchestrated the conquest of  most of the Middle-East, much of Africa and parts of Europe until he was stopped at the Gates of Vienna in 1529), in a not so glamorous light.

The show, 'Magnificent Century', shows the 16th century Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent drinking alcohol and spending more time with his harem than conquering the surrounding lands.

Mr Erdogan – who has been accused of fostering a more reactionary environment – said the owner of the channel that broadcasts the show had been warned and that he expected the judiciary to act.
But to show just how religious and conservative the Turkish people are becoming, the 'Magnificent Century' has garnered 70,000 complaints since January 2011.  They apparently want the  RTUK to ban the show. Touchy.

Sources: TelegraphUK, GuardianUK

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