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02 August

Freedom of Expression and the Press in Turkey – 201

Regulation bringing online broadcasting under RTÜK control goes into effect; academic Tuna Altınel released at first hearing

A regulation that gives Turkey’s radio and television watchdog RTÜK to supervise content streamed online formally went into effect on 1 August 2019, upon its publication in the Official Gazette.

The regulation, which raised concerns over possible censorship, makes it mandatory for online media content providers to obtain broadcasting licenses and permits from RTÜK, in return for significant sums. It also allows RTÜK to supervise content provided by them and introduce sanctions in case of non-compliance with broadcasting principles.

Streaming platforms like Netflix, local streaming platforms PuhuTV and BluTV will now be subject to RTÜK supervision and potential fines or loss of their license.

In addition to subscription services like Netflix, free online news outlets will also be subject to the same measures. Providers will be required to pay TL 10,000 to get a license to provide radio services while TV and subscription-based service providers will need to pay TL 100,000.

Yaman Akdeniz, a law professor, said access to the Netflix platform or to news outlets broadcasting from abroad could be blocked. Akdeniz also commented that media outlets such as Turkish services of the BBC or Deutsche Welle, which have emerged as sources of news not subject to government control over the past years, were possible intended targets of the regulation.

Kerem Altıparmak, a human rights lawyer, said the move was the “biggest step in Turkish censorship history” and said all outlets producing opposition news would be affected. “Everyone who produces alternative news and broadcasts will be impacted by this regulation,” Altıparmak wrote on Twitter. “Every news report that can be against the government will be taken under control.”

Read our full weekly report here

Tags: T24 ,RTUK ,Mehmet Altan ,Tuna Altınel


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