Turkey blocks access to Voice of America and Deutsche Welle


A statement issued by the Supreme Council of Turkish Radio and Television (RTUK) said the two outlets failed to follow “the law” and did not apply for a license within the required time frame. He said the couple were told they needed a broadcast license in February.

RTUK argued that both websites needed a broadcast license because they had “programs” sections.

Deutsche Welle is a German public international broadcaster, funded by German taxpayers. Voice of America is operated by the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM), a government agency funded by the United States Congress. The two websites are no longer accessible in Turkey since Thursday.

DW said in a statement that it broke the rules because “licensing would have allowed the Turkish government to censor editorial content.”

DW chief executive Peter Limbourg said the company explained to RTUK why it “couldn’t apply for such a licence”.

“Licenced media outlets in Turkey are required to remove online content that RTUK interprets as inappropriate. This is simply unacceptable for an independent broadcaster,” he said in a statement released by DW.

The news agency said it would take legal action against the bloc.

Voice of America acting director Yolanda López said the network “strongly opposes” RTUK’s decision, which she described as “a thinly veiled effort to censor unfavorable media coverage.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists’ Europe and Central Asia program coordinator Gulnoza Said criticized the decision to block the websites and urged RTUK to reverse the decision.

“Turkish authorities’ censorship of international broadcasters Voice of America and Deutsche Welle is the latest attempt to silence critical media as the country prepares for elections next year,” she said in a statement. communicated.

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RTUK said it was operating on legal grounds and there was no need for anyone “to worry unnecessarily about freedom of speech and the press”.

Turkey is ranked 149th out of 180 countries in the world press freedom index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

RSF said press freedom has been crushed under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with journalists routinely prosecuted and imprisoned for doing their job.

“As many as 200 journalists have been prosecuted and 70 journalists have been convicted on similar charges since Erdogan was elected president in August 2014.”

With 90% of the country’s national media under government control, international media, including DW and Voice of America, have become key sources of independent news, RSF added.


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