YouTube blocks live broadcasts by Turkish news channel

The streaming giant YouTube has blocked live broadcasts from Turkish news channel TVNet without justifying its decision, Turkey’s Yeni Şafak daily reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper said YouTube had failed to cite any specific instances that had led to the decision when asked, and accused the social media site of “virtually creating its own system of laws” and arbitrarily censoring the Turkish channel.

This approach “infringed on users’ rights” and “raised questions about the free press,” Yeni Şafak said.

Turkey’s own record on upholding these values has come under scrutiny over recent years, as the country has consistently ranked among the two worst jailers of journalists in the world. The Committee to Protect Journalists noted in its 2019 report that additional pressures on journalists include penalties imposed by the government on critical outlets.

But TVNet, whose owners at the Albayrak business group enjoy close relations with Turkey’s ruling party and also own Yeni Şafak, is not among the media outlets that routinely faces reprisals from the government.