Netflix applies for license under new Turkish broadcasting rules


FILE PHOTO: Gamers and visitors take a rest at the booth of Netflix during Europe’s leading digital games fair Gamescom, which showcases the latest trends of the computer gaming scene in Cologne, Germany, August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – U.S. online streaming service Netflix (NFLX.O) has applied for a license to continue operating in Turkey under new online broadcasting rules, the head of the country’s television watchdog (RTUK) said on Tuesday.

Turkey last month granted its radio and television watchdog sweeping oversight over all online content, including streaming platforms and online news outlets, in a move that raised concerns about possible censorship.

RTUK President Ebubekir Sahin also said on Twitter that more than 600 institutions, including local streaming platforms Puhu TV and Blu TV, had also applied for licenses.

The new regulation stipulates that content providers should get a new license to continue operating in Turkey, and comply with RTUK guidelines.

If they don’t respect the guidelines, they will be given 30 days to change their content, or face having their licenses suspended for three months and later canceled. The announcement last month did not specify what standards RTUK would expect.

Critics have said the move will allow the government to tighten its grip on Turkish media, which is largely owned or controlled by supporters of President Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK Party.

Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Ezgi Erkoyun; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Mark Potter

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