At a time when Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) is strictly monitoring broadcasts on national television and radio stations, the Turkish government has also granted the council the authority to monitor broadcasts of Internet TV channels, which until now have remained a freer domain.
A regulation granting the authority to RTÜK to supervise the broadcasts of Internet TV channels was approved by the Turkish Parliament on Wednesday night.
With the new regulation, which was introduced by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, RTÜK will be able to impose a broadcasting ban on Internet TV channels that do not have broadcasting licenses, whose licenses have been revoked or whose broadcasts are deemed to have inappropriate content.
Upon a request from RTÜK, penal courts of peace will make a ruling within 24 hours without a court hearing. It will be possible to object to these rulings in criminal court.
RTÜK and the Turkish Telecommunications Authority (BTK) will hammer out the details of the regulation within six months.
Those who air broadcasts on Internet TV channels will be obliged to obtain a broadcasting license from RTÜK.
There are concerns that the new regulation will further curtail freedom of expression in Turkey, which has already been dealt a severe blow since the declaration of an ongoing state of emergency in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.