Turkish media regulator RTÜK has given three international broadcasters 72 hours to apply for a licence or have their online content blocked.
Voice of America (VoA), Deutsche Welle (DW) and Euronews are including video on their websites and are seen as among the few independent news sources still available in Turkey.
RTÜK published a statement on its website Monday, signalling the start of the 72 hour period.
If the procedure for applying for a licence is underway, a broadcaster can continue on-air for another three months, providing the anticipated licence fee is paid to the regulator in advance.
DW Director General Peter Limbourg commented: “After having subjected the local media outlets in Turkey to such regulation, an attempt is now being made to restrict the reporting of international media services. This move does not relate to formal aspects of broadcasting, but to the journalistic content itself. It gives the Turkish authorities the option to block the entire service based on individual, critical reports unless these reports are deleted. This would open up the possibility of censorship. We will appeal against this decision and take legal action in the Turkish courts.”
AIB chief executive Simon Spanswick described the decision as arbitrary. “We are extremely concerned about the demand by Turkey’s media regulator that two of our members – Deutsche Welle and Voice of America – must apply for a licence to deliver their Turkish language service online in the country. The decision by RTÜK appears arbitrary and out of step with other regulators in Europe (RTUK is a member of the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities). There is a real danger that the decision will deprive Turkish citizens of access to the important international news sources that DW and VoA provide.
Since August 2019 online broadcasters, including streamers Netflix and Amazon Prime, have been obliged to obtain a Turkish licence.