Turkey threatens to block DW, two other international media platforms

The Supreme Council of Turkish Radio and Television (RTÜK) demanded that three international media, including Deutsche Welle (DW), apply for broadcast licenses within three days.

Deutsche Welle, Voice of America and euro news were given a 72-hour delay by the RTÜK. They must apply for a broadcast license within that time frame or face a broadcast ban,” Okan Konuralp, an RTÜK member from Turkey’s opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), tweeted on Wednesday morning.

RTÜK vice-president Ibrahim Uslu confirmed this information to the German press agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa). He said that DW must immediately apply for a license for its website, otherwise the broadcaster’s online journalistic content would no longer be accessible from Turkey. He said RTÜK’s official decision would be posted on its website within seven to ten days.

He also said that the Turkish department of the American broadcaster Voice of America and the European information network euro news were affected by the move.

Journalist Ilhan Tasci, who is also a member of RTÜK, said the move was a further step to silence critical reporting. “This decision means that for the first time, international broadcasters have become the target of the media watchdog in addition to regional channels,” he said. DW.

He said the decision was highly revealing, by any measure, and a direct interference with press freedom.

Okan Konuralp also strongly criticized the decision, saying DW that the AKP government wanted to control all internet content internationally and domestically.

Turkey cracked down on media under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s watch

Growing government control

Ibrahim Uslu rejected all censorship allegations. He defended the decision, saying it was merely a technical measure under the Media Act 2019.

This law gave the ruling AKP government more power to control internet platforms. It stipulates compulsory licenses for a period of 10 years and local representation for all broadcasters.

“We have learned from the media of a possible decision by RTÜK which could also have implications for DW,” a DW said the spokesperson in reaction to this decision. “However, we will only be able to make a conclusive analysis and decide how to proceed once we receive the official notification from the authority.”

Turkey has tightened media regulations in recent years by granting the AKP-dominated RTÜK sweeping powers over all online content. About 95% of the country’s mainstream media is owned by pro-government companies, which receive large contracts from the administration.

This article was originally published on the DW

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