Serkan Alan/ DUVAR

A regulation concerning the mandatory licensing of internet broadcasting went into effect on Aug. 1 on this year, creating fears that this would lead to censorship of internet content including that which is broadcasted on streaming sites like Netflix and Turkey’s BluTv. 

The Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) has filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court to cancel this regulation, which effectively grants the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), Turkey’s broadcast watchdog, the authority to audit internet platforms. Responding to the accusation that licensing fees are steep, RTÜK said that the fees can be paid in full or in installments, and requested that the lawsuit be thrown out. 

Internet radio license fees cost 10,000 TL, while internet tv license fees are 100,000 TL. The licenses are valid for ten years. RTÜK also denied that the regulation is geared towards curbing freedom of expression. It also says that the regulation does not apply to online journalistic programs that run on a non-profit basis. 

During the tenure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), mainstream television has been subjected to increasing censorship, including the blurring of cigarettes and alcoholic drinks. As a result, there is little room for risque content, which has resulted in many viewers turning to streaming sites like Netflix and the Turkish sites Blutv and Puhutv, where the range of content is much broader and not subjected to censorship.