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‘Bride’ draws Turkish regulator’s rebuke

Reality skein has auds up in arms

AMSTERDAM — Turkish radio/TV regulator RTUK has stepped up its vigilance on reality shows and has issued warnings to broadcasters after 4,139 complaints from viewers.

The complaints mainly stem from “Will You Be My Bride?,” in which a would-be bride lives with her mother-in-law for three months, with the groom living next door.

The program employs the familiar trappings of Western reality shows, including audience voting. But it also incorporates Muslim courtship and marriage customs. Scenes featuring conflict and tension, and dealing with sex have offended some viewers in the largely Muslim nation.

RTUK, known in Turkey as the Supreme Board of Radio & Television, lodged a complaint when the show first appeared on national commercial channel Show TV in 2004. The board received 1,389 complaints from viewers.

Early in 2005, rival channel Kanal D aired its own version, which got 1,785 complaints.

“People on these shows sometimes behave badly,” said Nazli Tolunay, assistant to the head of programming for Show TV.

Issuing the warning against the show, RTUK called it “humiliating to women, denigrating to Turkish culture and dangerous for children.”

The RTUK could follow this up with other action, including requiring the broadcaster to apologize, leveling fines, pulling the program or taking the broadcaster to court.

The show is distribbed by Sera Film, which has placed formats for a number of international producers on Turkish TV, including “Deal or No Deal” and ” The Bar.”

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