Opposition parties question Turkey’s controversial new internet broadcasting regulation
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have submitted parliamentary questions regarding a contentious government bill granting Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) the authority to regulate every kind of internet broadcasting.
If the new government-led omnibus bill passes in parliament, RTÜK will be authorized to regulate and monitor every kind of sound and visual broadcast shared online on a regular basis, news website T24 has reported.
Speaking to T24, CHP deputy Bülent Kuşoğlu said they demanded the article to be excluded from the omnibus bill.
HDP lawmaker Garo Paylan also criticized the government for “trying to intensify its control over the internet through the bill,” demanding the removal of the article from the draft.
According to the bill, licenses will be required to stream internet broadcasts and RTÜK will be able to revoke the licenses of broadcasts that do not pass certain criteria with a court decision.
If the law passes in parliament then social media platforms that deliver news on a regular basis will be subjected to the same regulations. A number of news outlets, including the popular Medyascope.tv – which was set up by veteran journalist Rüşen Çakır to deliver audiovisual content via the live-stream video smartphone app Periscope - will also be affected by the changes.
All newspapers’ video-based news and political parties’ broadcasting streams on their internet sites will be subjected to the same license and the RTÜK monitoring system, with the only criteria being that such news is “released on a regular basis.”
Additionally, digital TV platforms such as Blu TV and Puhu TV will also come under RTÜK’s inspection.