Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) blocked access in Turkey to the Turkish editions of Voice of America and Deutsche Welle, the international broadcasting services of the United States and Germany respectively. The court decision came out late on Thursday, and said the outlets were banned for not obtaining an online broadcasting licence, Voice of America reported.
RTÜK had announced its intention to block access to both services as well as Euronews Turkish on 9 February unless they obtained licences.
Following the announcement, Voice of America published an article on how to bypass the access bans, encouraging its readers to use one of several free applications for continued access.
In April, the state media watchdog walked back on the requirement for Euronews, saying that the way it conducted its broadcasts did not now require a licence.
DW general director Peter Limbourg said in February:
“After having subjected the local media outlets in Turkey to such regulation, an attempt is now being made to restrict the reporting of international media services. This move does not relate to formal aspects of broadcasting, but to the journalistic content itself. It gives the Turkish authorities the option to block the entire service based on individual, critical reports unless these reports are deleted. This would open up the possibility of censorship. We will appeal against this decision and take legal action in the Turkish courts.”
Turkey began enforcing a law giving RTÜK its broad authority over online publications in 2019. Under current laws, outlets that produce video content must obtain a licence while text web sites are exempt from the requirement.