Press Freedom

MLSA takes the blocking of Deutsche Welle’s website to the court

Appealing to the blocking of the website of Deutsche Welle (DW),  Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) has requested the rescission of the access block decision.

In a petition submitted to the Ankara 2nd Criminal Judgeship of Peace, it is requested that the access block decision (Decision no. 2022/7978) of the Ankara 1st Criminal Judgeship of Peace of June 30, 2022 be rescinded on the grounds that it violates the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of expression and the press and the right to political participation.

In the petition, it is argued that the access block decision contradicts the freedom of expression and dissemination of thought as guaranteed by Article 26th of the Constitution. In the petition, it is also emphasized that the freedom of expression and its natural offset the right to information constitute one of the most fundamental human rights.

MLSA lawyers also argued that the decision also constitutes violation of articles 28th (the freedom of the press) and 22nd (freedom of communication).

MLSA lawyers further argued that the decision violates the second article of the Constitution, which defines the Republic of Turkey as a democratic state in which the rule of law is guaranteed.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council law regulation

The failure of DW to apply for licensing per Article 10th of the  “Regulation on the Presentation of Radio, Television and On-Demand Broadcasting on the Internet” is cited as the reason for the access block decision.

In the petition, it is requested that the access block decision for which the requirement for licensing was cited as reason be immediately rescinded as it serves as ground for the arbitrary prohibition by the administration and as it constitutes a violation of the public’s right to information.

The Article 10th of the 2019 regulation stipulates that broadcasters pay the licensing fee along with their application for licensing.

On August 9, 2019, MLSA had taken the regulation to the Council of State requesting that it be revoked and a suspension of execution be ordered. In April 2020, the Council of State rejected the request for a suspension of execution.

In February, DW announced that they will not apply for licensing. Like DW, Voice of America, which has also been subjected to the access block, announced on its social media accounts how to combat the access block and offered techniques to access their websites.

‘Censorship is the only aim’

Reminding the lawsuit before the Council of State, MLSA’s Co-director attorney Veysel Ok stated that “The only aim of RTÜK’s imposition for licensing is censorship. This decision is a blatant violation of the freedoms of expression and the press of those broadcasters which can report on issues that might be uncomfortable for the government.” Sharing that the petition was filed on behalf of an audience of these broadcasters, Ok said that “In the event that our petition is rejected, we will go the Constitutional Court.”