Turkey: PM gives TV reporter 'pocket money'

Recep Tayyip Erdogan hands cash to Sultan Akten

The Turkish prime minister was filmed giving "pocket money" to a TV reporter.

And Recep Tayyip Erdogan's gesture, a traditional way for parents to mark special occasions such as last week's Muslim festival of Eid, sparked a row over the ethics of journalism in the country. Hurriyet Daily News reported how Sultan Akten, from private broadcaster TGRT, told the PM: "We could not celebrate Eid with our parents yet. So I would like say 'happy Eid' to you, and for you to give me pocket money instead of my father." Erdogan shared a laugh with the press pack, before handing over 200 Turkish liras ($100, £62).

The reaction wasn't so light-hearted, with the Progressive Journalism Association describing the incident as "the gravestone of journalism" and columnist Ozge Mumcu tweeting that it represented the "relationship between government and media". According to a European Union report, ties between big business and the government, and a lack of regulation in media ownership, causes self-censorship and limits press freedom. Media watchers noted that rolling news channels CNNTurk, NTV and Haberturk ignored anti-government protests in May, while the Turkish Journalists Union claims 22 journalists were dismissed, 14 others suspended and 37 pressured to resign over their coverage of the demonstrations.

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