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Bar association takes regulation handing vast powers to RTÜK to top Turkish court

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The Ankara Bar Association has announced that it has taken a controversial regulation authorizing the country’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) to exercise vast powers over Internet broadcasting to the country’s Council of State demanding its cancellation, the Diken news website reported.

According to the regulation published in the Official Gazette on Aug. 1, Internet broadcasters must apply for a license from RTÜK in order to continue streaming online as well as obtain an official trade registration.

While RTÜK is authorized to cancel broadcasting licenses, the Penal Courts of Peace are given the power to forbid access to any URL.

The penal courts can also prohibit access to Internet media channels.

For Internet radio, broadcasters are required pay TL10,000 ($1,800) for a license, while Internet TV providers must pay TL 100,000 ($18,000).

Paid subscription-based Internet streamers such as Netflix or one of its Turkish equivalents like BluTV must pay 0.5 percent of their annual revenue from subscribers to RTÜK as a commission.

In addition to these payments, Internet broadcasters are obliged to pay TL100,000 a year.

Since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the Turkish government has closed down dozens of critical media outlets and arrested hundreds of journalists critical of it on coup or terrorism charges.

The only venue in which government critics can air their opinions is the digital media; however, the new regulation aims to control it.

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