Mar 22 2018

Turkish Parliament approves new law regulating internet

The Turkish Parliament approved late on Wednesday a bill giving the Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) the authority to regulate all kinds of internet broadcasting.

According to the new legislation all broadcasters that want to provide radio, television, and other types of broadcasting services on the internet will have to obtain a licence from RTÜK, while broadcasters on other platforms will also require a transmission authorisation from RTÜK for their internet broadcasts. Previously, RTÜK licensing and regulation was necessary only for conventional radio and television broadcasters.

RTÜK will be able to file a legal complaint to demand blocking access to broadcasters which do not have licence or authorization or whose licence or authorisation have been cancelled. The courts will have to decide on RTÜK’s application within 24 hours.

The details of the legislation will be set via a directive to be issued by RTÜK in the following six months. 

The new legislation is widely criticized as it is expected to further the suppression on the freedom of expression and press,  while the government backs the new regulation saying its aim is to ensure conformity of internet broadcasts to the values of the country and its moral codes.

The new legislation was first brought up following the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate’s criticism against Adnan Oktar, the leader of a notorious religious cult, who owns A9 channel famous for its sexual content. 

However, the new law will mainly effect digital platforms like Puhu TV and Blu TV, as well as many independent journalists who switched to internet broadcasting due to government’s extensive control on mainstream media.