The Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications is the policy making authority for the Internet, information society and for communications in general.
The Telecommunications Authority was established in 2000 as the first regulatory body of the internet sector in the country. In 2008 its name was changed to the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA). It is in charge of providing telecommunications services which are regulated by the Telecommunications Law (law n.406). It works fundamentally to create and maintain competition in the sector; to protect subscribers’ rights; and to plan and allocate frequencies. A full list of its duties can be found on the Authority’s website.
The Telecommunications Communication Presidency (TIB) is an independent regulatory authority responsible for internet regulation. It was established as part of the Telecommunications Authority in 2005. It is a central surveillance authority for communication. It has several powers that include issuing website blocking orders. Websites can be blocked in execution of the provision of the Internet Law, the Anti-Terror Law and certain provisions of the Penal Code.
The Directorate General of Press and Information (DGPI or BYEGM) is the press regulatory authority constituted under the authority of the Prime Minister. The Directorate maintains and organizes relations with domestic and foreign media and takes effective measures to facilitate their working conditions and activities. It also manages accreditations for members of the foreign press visiting Turkey on temporary missions for up to three months.
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (Radyo ve Televizyon Üst Kurulu, RTÜK) was established in 1994 as “High Council” and then its status was changed in 2011 to “Supreme Council”. Its structure is defined in Section Eleven of the Law on Broadcasting. It is an administratively and financially autonomous regulatory body responsible for the video and radio regulations. The Council is composed of nine members elected by the “Turkish Grand National Assembly from persons who are over 30 years old, completed at least four years of higher education, worked for at least 10 years in public institutions and establishments or private enterprises on matters related to their professions and possess sufficient professional knowledge and experience as well as qualifications adequate for becoming a civil servant” (Article 35). Each member has a six year mandate and is entitled to vote for the election of the Council’s President and Vice President. The Council is responsible for supervising and controlling the broadcast of media service providers and their compliance to the law. It has several executive powers including the ability to suspend a programme if considered as violating the provisions of the law; furthermore it can issue fines. If the violation is reiterated, the RTÜK can suspend the broadcasting schedule and revoke company’s licenses.
The Press Council (Basın Konseyi) was formed in Istanbul by working journalists with the support of publishers in 1988 as an independent self-regulatory body for the press and for broadcast media. Its main objective is to promote press freedom in the country. It also receives complaints from the public about print media, TV and radio. It is also financially independent, since it is not publicly funded and receives money only from its contributors. Decisions about complaints from the public are taken by the Board of the Council which is composed of 34 members. In case of breach of the Code of Ethics, the Council can issue warnings to the concerned parties. In 2005, several newspapers announced that they no longer recognized the Press Council.
Some of the main newspapers (Sabah, Star, Milliyet) have their own Ombudsman. The first newspaper to have an ombudsman was Milliyet (a publication of the Doğan Media Group), in 1999. Several broadcasters also have their “audience representatives”, charged with representing the public’s interests and rights. In general different media have established self-regulatory mechanisms in recent years and some of them also issued their own codes of ethics.
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