Turkey’s parliament approved a new law on Wednesday that allows its radio and TV watchdog to vet Internet broadcasts, granting the government the ability to intervene against content by producers including Netflix Inc.
The regulation will require online video streaming companies and pay-TV services to apply for a license from the watchdog, known by its Turkish initials RTUK. Courts can block access for Turkish users if the necessary permits aren’t secured. RTUK has become notorious for aggressively handing out penalties or banning broadcasts that it judges to be immoral, inconsistent with Turkish family values, or that stray from the government line on politics.
The move is Turkey’s latest expansion into control over the media, with 80 million Turks increasingly limited in what they’re permitted to see on their computer screens and televisions. Courts and government agencies have repeatedly blocked access to Twitter and YouTube on complaints of content offensive to the nation’s leadership. Online encyclopedia Wikipedia has been blocked since last year. Twitter says that Turkey submits about half of all global requests made to remove tweets, by far the most of any country.
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