The Draft Law on the Amendments to the Tax Laws and Certain Laws and Decrees (“Draft Law”), recently submitted to the Turkish Parliament, introduces highly significant restrictions in relation to internet broadcasting.
Pursuant to the new Article 29/A to be added to Law No. 6112 on the Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and the Media Services (“Broadcasting Law”), service providers who seek to broadcast on the internet must obtain a license from the Radio and Television Supreme Council (“RTÜK”). Failure to obtain a license can result in a justice of the peace ordering the removal or blocking of the relevant content.
According to the amendment introduced by Article 73 of the Draft Law, service providers must obtain a broadcasting license from the RTÜK to provide radio, television and on-demand broadcasting services exclusively on the internet, and the platform operators must obtain a broadcasting transmission license to transmit such broadcasting on the internet.
If real or legal persons lacking a valid license broadcasts content on the internet, the RTÜK can request that a justice of the peace order the removal of and/or blocking of access to the relevant content.
Content can be removed or blocked in relation to the foreign service providers listed below:
• Service providers or platform operators who broadcast in violation of the international agreements and the Broadcasting Law,
• Broadcasting organizations that broadcast on the internet in Turkish and aimed at persons in Turkey, and
• Broadcasting organizations that do not broadcast in Turkish but include commercial communications aimed at persons located in Turkey.
The principles and procedures for the provision of radio, television and on demand broadcasting services on the internet, the broadcasting license and the authorization certificate for broadcasting transmission, and the supervisory powers of the RTÜK will be regulated in detail under a secondary regulation to be adopted within six months from the effective date of the Draft Law.
Increasing technological developments have promulgated internet radio and television broadcasting. The main considerations behind the Draft Law include, in essence, the lack of a license requirement process for broadcasting on the internet and that these activities are not subject to any tax or similar financial obligations.
Once the Draft Law takes effect, the activities of the television channels and platforms that broadcast on the internet, either in Turkey or abroad, will be subject to serious supervision by the RTÜK. Service providers and platform operators who broadcast online must closely follow updates regarding the Draft Law and take the necessary actions to obtain a broadcasting license or a broadcasting transmission license.