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Turkish broadcast watchdog granted sweeping powers to regulate online content

Turkish radio and television watchdog RTUK has secured sweeping powers to regulate content released by online news outlets and streaming services such as Netflix Inc., Reuters reported Aug. 1.

Under a new regulation, online content providers must get broadcasting licenses from RTUK. The regulator will supervise all content that providers post, subject to certain standards that were not specified.

Platforms that fail to comply with the regulation and RTUK's standards would have 30 days to adjust their content. Otherwise, the content providers could pay fines or have their licenses suspended for three months and then revoked.

Netflix said it wants to continue operating in Turkey and is closely following the developments, according to Reuters.

Critics raised concerns that the new guidelines could lead to censorship, allowing the Turkish government under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to tighten its grip on the media. Erdoğan's ruling AK Party and its nationalist ally threw their support behind the regulation, which was initially approved in March 2018 by the country's parliament.

In 2014, Turkey blocked access to Twitter Inc. after the posting of several recordings that purported to connect Erdoğan to a graft probe that has implicated some of his closest allies.