German politicians reacted to the decision by a Turkish court to block access to international news outlets Deutsche Welle (DW) and Voice of America (VOA).
DW and the Turkish-language Website of VOA were blocked on Thursday upon complaints by the Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) that the two news outlets did not comply with the regulation to apply for a license within the specified timeframe.
The Turkish media regulator says that DW and VOA are required to obtain license because they host video content.
Steffen Hebestreit, spokesperson for the German government, told reporters on Friday that Germany ‘noted with regret’ the Turkish decision to block DW.
“Our concern about the situation of freedom of expression and of the press in Turkey persists,” he added.
‘Systematic undermining of press freedom’
Jürgen Hardt, the foreign policy spokesman for the opposition Christian Democrats, said the blocking marked a ‘new low point’ in the ‘systematic undermining of press freedom’ by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration.
“With this decision, Erdogan is putting Turkey in line with countries like China, North Korea and Iran, whose citizens are fundamentally only free to use the internet in ways that suit their government.”
‘Latest attack on press freedom’
While the officials in the United States have remained silent over the blocking, the Acting CEO of US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) spoke out against the decision on Friday, saying it was the ‘latest attack on press freedom’.
“With the attempted blocking of Voice of America and Deutsche Welle, RTÜK has made an alarming choice to pave the way for internet censorship. Audiences in Turkey deserve access to fact-based news about the world around them. Despite this latest attack on press freedom, USAGM will not be deterred in its mission to support the free flow of information to people in Turkey and across the globe.”