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Turkey threatens to block international news outlets in media crackdown

German broadcaster 'Deutsche Welle', 3 February 2022 [YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images]
German broadcaster 'Deutsche Welle', 3 February 2022 [YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images]

Turkey's media and telecom regulator gave three international news agencies 72 hours to secure an operating licence on Wednesday.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) announced that German public broadcaster – Deutsche Welle, US broadcaster – Voice of America and France-based network – Euronews, would have their content blocked unless they obtain a licence.

The decision reportedly marks the first time RTUK has used its powers to regulate online news platforms. It comes after the Turkish parliament revised its media regulations in 2019, giving RTUK authority to monitor any online news websites.

Journalist, opposition lawmaker and RTUK board member, Illhan Tasci, voted against the decision, saying it was a further step to silence reporting.

He told Deutsche Welle, "This decision means that, for the first time, international broadcasters have become the target of the media watchdog, in addition to regional channels."

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Another opposition member of RTUK, Okan Konuralp, also criticised the decision, tweeting, "This move to suppress the international media is also doomed to failure."

Dominated by the ruling AK Party, RTUK's monitoring powers over the media has expanded amid an on-going government crackdown on press freedoms.

Around 90 per cent of Turkish media is now under state control, according to a report released by Reporters without Borders last year.

Internet and social media censorship has accelerated in Turkey, with hundreds of thousands of websites banned in recent years while authorities have also banned access to thousands more posts and articles.

Europe & RussiaNewsTurkey
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