Turkey has blocked access to all Deutsche Welle websites. In addition, the Turkish-language website of Voice of America is no longer available.
The public broadcasters of Germany and America are being punished for not complying with new rules introduced by the Turkish government this year.
Media companies that bring Turkish-language news, even if they are foreign organisations, must from now on apply for a license in Turkey. This puts them directly under the supervision of the Turkish media control authority RTUK.
Implications for independence
Both news organizations refused to apply for that Turkish license out of concerns about the consequences for their independence. “In Turkey, licensed media are required to remove content if RTUK finds it undesirable. That is unacceptable for an independent news organization,” said Peter Limbourg, director of Deutsche Welle.
The blockade of two renowned foreign news organizations is seen as another blow to press freedom in Turkey. According to human rights groups, repression in the country is growing in the run-up to elections scheduled for June next year
Turkish language channels
Turkish media has been under the tight control of the state for some time. Nearly all major media outlets are owned by businessmen associated with the Erdogan government. That is precisely why media such as Deutsche Welle and Voice of America started Turkish-language channels. They want to counterbalance the pro-government media.
Deutsche Welle has announced it will take legal action against the blockade. Both Deutsche Welle and Voice of America have shared information on their social media channels about how their Turkish audiences can still view the websites via a VPN connection.