TV show in Turkey fined over 'dance with a stranger' stunt

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Turkey's television regulator has handed a record fine to a popular game show for a segment where husbands were filmed dancing with other women as their wives looked on, reports said Sunday.

The game show, "I Don't Know, My Spouse Knows" was fined 410,000 Turkish lira (S$233,114) by the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) which has come under fire in recent months for a number of stern rulings.

The regulator said in its ruling that the episode was "contrary to public morality and the Turkish family structure", the Hurriyet daily reported.

In the offending show, broadcast in November, the husbands were shown dancing with other women - said to be foreigners - while the horrified reactions of their wives was also shown in a split screen.

The four wives appeared aghast as they watched their husbands - who danced with little inhibition - with one asking a fellow contestant if the stunt was a joke.

When it became clear it was not, their reactions were even more grave. One of the wives, Seval, said: "I am going to kill him!" When the husbands rejoined the main studio she wagged her finger and told her spouse: "You are finished!"

RTUK said the show, broadcast by the popular private channel Kanal D, had "encouraged men to cheat on their wives and provided an environment to disturb the family peace." It added that women in the programme had been "reduced to sexual objects".

Its ruling came amid growing complaints by the opposition of a moral clampdown in Turkey's officially secular society under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a pious Muslim.

"People are allowed to dance with each other," Suleyman Demirkan, a lawmaker for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) told Hurriyet.

"By considering this 'against family values' our friends in the RTUK are trying to impose their ideas of lifestyle," he added.

But the head of RTUK, Davut Dursun, said there was much in the show that had stepped over the limit.

"We made the decision that the show was not in line with the concept of the family," he told Hurriyet, adding it looked "ugly" that couples had been made to feel uncomfortable with each other.

The RTUK in November rebuked one of the country's most popular soap operas - "Kara Para Ask" (Black Money Love) - for a passionate kissing scene deemed excessively erotic.

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