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Turkey to Regulate Internet Broadcasting Services: Draft Regulation is open for public comment

Turkey’s Draft Regulation on Provision of Radio, Television and On-demand Broadcasting Services through the Internet (Draft Regulation) is jointly drafted by Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTSC) and Turkish Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA). The Draft Regulation is open for public comment as of 27 September 2018 and it is expected to come into force soon.

1.    Who are within the scope of the Draft Regulation?

Draft Regulation will apply to:

  • media service providers, who have the editorial responsibility to determine the content and the program of radio, television and on-demand broadcast services and provide these services via internet and
  • platform operators, who provide multiple radio, television or on-demand media services through a platform via internet (i.e. websites) or mobile applications.

The Draft Regulation also clarifies that regardless of the location of their content providers or hosting providers, the below-mentioned non-Turkish media service providers and platform operators are within the scope of the Draft Regulation:

(i)  media service provides/platform operators who broadcast through the internet in Turkish language, targeting Turkish audience and

(ii) media service provides/platform operators, who provides marketing communications targeting Turkish audience even though their broadcasting language is not in Turkish,

Although the definitions in the Draft Regulation are not clear yet, we expect that the online on-demand streaming platforms such as Netflix will be deemed under the scope of the Draft Regulation either as a media service provider or as a platform operator.

2.    Who are outside of scope of the Draft Regulation?

According to the Draft Regulation:

  • individual communications,
  • platforms, which are not dedicated for transmission of radio, television and on-demand broadcast services through the internet and
  • real or legal persons, which only provide hosting services for radio, television and on-demand broadcast services

are outside of the scope of the Draft Regulation.

We are of the view that Facebook, YouTube would be deemed out of the scope of the Draft Regulation based on the exclusions above.

3.    Is there a licence/permit requirement?

Media service providers providing broadcast services only on the internet are required to obtain different licences based on their broadcasting service such as (i) radio, (ii) television and (iii) on-demand broadcasting.  

Such media service providers must fulfil certain requirements such as (among others):

  • incorporating joint-stock company in Turkey to provide radio, television and on demand broadcast services (minimum capital of a joint stock company, TRY 50.000 must be fully paid)
  • submitting the declarations of shareholders, board members, general manager and vice general manager that they have no criminal convictions,

Such licenses will be valid for 10 years. License fees vary from TRY 10.000 to TRY 100.000.

Media service providers, who already have a “temporary broadcasting right” and/or “broadcasting permit” for conventional broadcasting (e.g. territorial, satellite, radio etc.) are not required to obtain an additional license for internet broadcasting but must fulfil some notification obligations and obtain a permit for this purpose.

Platform operators are required to obtain an internet broadcast transmission permit. Such operators must fulfil certain requirements such as (among others):

  • incorporating joint-stock or limited company in Turkey,
  • submitting the declarations of shareholders, board members, general manager and vice general manager that they have no criminal convictions,

Internet broadcast transmission permit annual fee is TRY 100.000.

4.    What are the notable restrictions?

Media service providers are obliged to remove from their broadcast catalogue, the broadcasts that are found inappropriate by the RTSC.

Platform operators shall not to transmit broadcasts of media service providers which do not have license.

5.    What are the sanctions?

In case of (i) providing broadcasting services without license or (ii) transmission of broadcasts without broadcast transmission permit, the magistrate court may decide to block the access to such broadcasts upon application.

In addition to this, ICTA may impose an administrative fine to content providers, hosting providers or access providers which do not fulfil such decision.

In certain cases, RTSC has authority to cancel the broadcasting licenses.

Please see link below for the full text of the Draft Regulation (only available in Turkish):

https://www.rtuk.gov.tr/assets/Galeri/Haberler/radyo-televizyon-ve-istege-bagli-yayinlarin-internet-ortamindan-sunumu-hakkinda-yonetmelik-taslagi.pdf

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Publication Date: 5 October 2018