ISTANBUL – A Turkish writer has won a court battle against Turkish Airlines for censoring an article published in their inflight magazine.
In June 2009, Buket Uzuner was commissioned to write an article about Istanbul’s Moda neighborhood for Turkish Airlines’ Skylife magazine. In her article she criticized the city of Istanbul’s ban on alcohol sales in Moda, but this portion of the article was edited out of the article before publication.
When Uzuner asked Skylife why her article had been censored, she was told that it was because it was about alcohol. Unsatisfied with the response, the writer sued Turkish Airlines for censoring her article without her permission. She asked them to recall the magazine and to republish the article in full.
Turkish Airlines argued that the article was cut to protect Turkey’s image and that the magazine had no interest in getting involved with political issues.
However, Uzuner’s lawyer argued that because the writer was famous and the article literary, the magazine was not allowed to make cuts without obtaining permission from the author.
The court decided in favor of Uzuner, ruling that the article was indeed a literary work. It ordered Turkish Airlines to recall the June 2009 edition of Skylife and to take the article down from the magazine’s website. The court also ruled that a new uncensored version should be republished within three months. Uzuner was also awarded compensation for her legal fees.
Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines recently banned alcoholic beverages on all business-class domestic flights, apart from six destinations.
The company said that the ban was made for “purely economic reasons” and not on religious grounds. According to the airline there is low demand for alcohol on flights to destinations where the service of alcoholic beverages has been discontinued.