The federal government has criticized the blocking of Deutsche Welle in Turkey. The decision was “taken note of with regret,” said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit on Friday in Berlin. Concerns about freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Turkey persist and Germany will continue to advocate for “independent fact-based journalism” in Turkey, Hebestreit said.
The Turkish broadcasting supervisory authority (RTÜK) announced on Thursday that it would block the German foreign broadcaster and Voice of America due to a lack of licenses. In February, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America (VOA) announced that they would not apply for licenses in Turkey. These had been requested by RTÜK under the country’s media regulation law.
Turkey has tightened media scrutiny in recent years, giving RTÜK sweeping oversight of all online content, which it can also remove. About 90 percent of mainstream media in Turkey is now state-owned or government-affiliated.
Media groups have also criticized the lockdown. The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan now seems to want to extend its “constant attacks on independent media in the country” to foreign media, said the managing director of Reporters Without Borders, Christian Mihr, the German Press Agency on Friday.
The journalists’ association DJV called on the federal government to work to lift the blocking. “The ban on Deutsche Welle cannot be justified by anything other than the sheer arbitrariness of Erdogan’s autocracy,” criticized DJV national chairman Frank Überall.