MESOPOTAMIA NEWS REPORT : Turkey – New Law Restricts Online Media Outlets:

On August 1, Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) passed an amendment requiring streaming services and online broadcasters to obtain a license, which could cost up to $18,000, to broadcast in Turkey. While the law affects entertainment services such as Netflix and YouTube, it also applies to a number of news agencies with online operations, including the BBC, Voice of America, and Germany’s Deutsche Welle. A 30-day period was granted for companies to obtain a license; lack of a license will result in the government blocking the sites.  Free speech advocates have been sharply critical of the law. Veysel Ok, co-director of the Media and Law Studies Association, stated that “the only purpose of this law and the mandate that comes with it is to [block content] from those sources and bring independent media outlets under control.” The RTUK claims that the goal of the regulation “is to establish the methods and principles to regulate the presentation and provision of radio, television and on-demand broadcast services… and the supervision of the broadcasts in question.”

In other news, 136 websites and social media accounts were blocked on August 6 as a result of a July 16 court ruling to ban certain websites and social media accounts. None of the websites affected were made aware of the initial ruling. The ban has affected several independent news websites and pro-Kurdish social media accounts; initially, Bianet, a Turkish human rights news website, was also blocked, but the government lifted the ban on August 8. In a letter, the gendarmerie claimed Bianet’s inclusion in the ban had been a mistake, but Bianet’s lawyer Meric Eyuboglu said, “There is no reasoning in the gendarmerie petition, there is no reasoning in the court ruling. The court banning access due to one application is a very problematic situation for press freedom and freedom of expression.”

More via