Euronews no longer required to obtain a broadcasting license to operate in Turkey

The Turkish edition of Lyon-based media outlet Euronews will no longer be required by Turkey’s media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), to obtain a broadcast license because it removed content that required the license, Turkish Minute reported. , quoting an RTÜK member.

RTÜK member Okan Konuralp tweeted on Wednesday that RTÜK had revoked Euronews’ order to obtain a license for its website in Turkey.

“RTÜK based its decision on the fact that Euronews removed content that would have required a license. The process is not yet complete for DW and VoA,” Konuralp said, referring to the Turkish editions of German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle and Voice of America, the US state-owned international media broadcaster.

The three international outlets were at risk of being banned due to an RTÜK decision in February ordering them to obtain broadcast licenses. RTÜK gave outlets a 72-hour period to apply for licenses during which they did not submit any applications.

While VOA and DW announced at the time that they would not apply for broadcast licenses and would instead take legal action against the threat of a ban on access to their Turkish editions, Euronews remained silent.

VOA and the DW also described RTÜK’s decision as an attempt at censorship.

Deutsche Welle chief executive Peter Limbourg said RTÜK’s decision was an attempt “to restrict reporting by international media services”.

The license “gives Turkish authorities the ability to block the entire service based on critical individual reports, unless these reports are deleted,” Limburg said, according to the Deutsche Welle website. “It would open up the possibility of censorship. We will appeal this decision and take legal action in the Turkish courts. »

VOA also said in a statement in late February that it would not honor RTÜK’s request for an online license, explaining that requiring a license for online streaming amounts to censorship.

“Licensing is the norm for radio and television broadcasting because broadcast spectrum is a limited public resource, and governments have a recognized responsibility to regulate spectrum to ensure it is used in the interest of the general public,” VOA said in its statement. “The Internet, on the other hand, is not a finite resource, and the only possible purpose of a licensing requirement for Internet distribution is to enable censorship.”

The Turkish editions of the three media outlets are the only source of free and independent journalism for some people in Turkey, where the majority of media is government-controlled.

In 2019, Turkey revised its media regulations to allow RTÜK to oversee online broadcasts. Since the new regulations came into effect, various streaming platforms, including Netflix and Amazon Prime, have applied for and obtained licenses.

RTÜK is a controversial agency which is accused of helping to increase censorship in the country by imposing punitive and disproportionate sanctions on independent television and radio stations that criticize the Turkish government.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), 85% of national media in Turkey are owned by pro-government businessmen who toe the official line.

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