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ISTANBUL -- In Soviet Russia, during the 1991 coup, they showed Swan Lake.

In Turkey, it was penguins.

When violent clashes broke out between protesters and police in Istanbul last week, national TV channels ran with other stories.

Broadcasts included a cooking show, a full-length documentary on Adolf Hitler and, on CNNTurk, a nature show about penguins.


Angry protesters gathered outside two TV stations early this week -- angry that they had to rely on social media for information about the protests.

But social media has also allowed protesters to ruthlessly ridicule the broadcasters and has prompted at least one to issue an apology.

And the penguin -- not particularly prevalent in this country, lapped by the waters of the Mediterranean and Black seas -- has become a sensation.


This following mockup of armed pengiuns reads:

"Antarctica is resisting! The penguins: It's not about the melting glaciers!
Istanbul weather: gas, 27 degrees; Ankara: gas in the evening hours."

-- Glenn Kates

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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