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Turkey gives DW 72 hours to apply for license

February 22, 2022

Turkey's media watchdog has started a countdown for DW to apply for a broadcast license or see its TV channels and website banned in the country. DW's director general called the move an attempt at "censorship."

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DW is Germany's international broadcaster Image: Marius Becker/dpa/picture alliance

The Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has renewed its demands that three international media outlets, including Deutsche Welle, apply for broadcasting licenses within days.

Earlier this month, RTÜK warned that it would give DW 72 hours to file the paperwork relating to a 2019 media law or "face a broadcast ban" and have its website blocked across Turkey. That deadline went into effect on Monday.

DW Director General Peter Limbourg said that "after having subjected the local media outlets in Turkey to such regulation, an attempt is now being made to restrict the reporting of international media services. This move does not relate to formal aspects of broadcasting, but to the journalistic content itself. It gives the Turkish authorities the option to block the entire service based on individual, critical reports unless these reports are deleted. This would open up the possibility of censorship. We will appeal against this decision and take legal action in the Turkish courts."

DW, alongside other international broadcasters, is one of the few remaining news outlets from which people in Turkey can obtain independent information. In addition to DW, Voice of America and France-based Euronews were also given notice to apply for a license.

DW had established a liaison office in Turkey in accordance with the 2019 law and has been registered with the relevant Turkish ministry since February 2020. 

The 10-member RTÜK board is dominated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan's conservative AKP party and its far-right ally the MHP party.

Turkey has undergone a series of clampdowns on objective and dissenting voices in the media and amongst academics since a 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan's rule.

DW, Germany's taxpayer-funded international broadcaster, provides news in 32 languages, including Turkish.