Stj. Av. Selen Özkan

Regulation on the Presentation of the Radio, Television and On-Demand Broadcasts on Internet was published in the Official Gazette of August 1, 2019 numbered 30849 (“Regulation”)[1]. The aim of the Regulation is to regulate the internet broadcasts. The Regulation provides for the detailed provisions regarding the broadcast services, the broadcasting transmission, the broadcasting license and transmission authorization, as well as the supervision of broadcasting on the internet.

I. Scope of the Regulation

The Regulation shall apply to the online radio, television and on-demand broadcasting services and private media service providers, which provide such services and platform operators transmitting such broadcasts.

The Regulation is enacted in order to determine rules and procedures regarding (i) the presentation of the broadcast services through the Internet, (ii) the broadcast license to be granted to the media service providers, (iii) the broadcast transmission authority to be granted to the platform operators, and (iv) the supervision of such broadcasts. Article 2 of the Regulation excludes individual communication services from the scope of the Regulation. It also stipulates that the platforms that are not allocated for such online services and real persons and legal entities that solely are hosting providers shall not be considered as platform operators under the Regulation.

The Regulation further states that the Regulation is also applied to the establishments, the broadcast contents or hosting service providers of which are in a foreign country if they broadcast in Turkish language or in a foreign language, which includes the commercial broadcasts targeting Turkey or that concern Turkey.

 

II. Obligations Imposed by the Radio and Television Supreme Council ("RTUK")

According to the Regulation, media service providers wishing to provide radio, television or on-demand broadcast services exclusively on the internet are obliged to obtain a broadcast license from RTUK, platform operators wishing to transmit radio, television and on-demand broadcasting services over the internet are obliged to obtain a broadcast transmission authorization from RTUK and media service providers holding temporary broadcasting right and/or broadcast licenses for terrestrial, satellite or other broadcasting platforms may continue use broadcast through internet for the term of their license, provided that they inform and register the URL address and/or platform operators broadcasting their content with RTUK. 

It should be noted that online broadcasting licenses may only be granted to joint stock companies established under the Turkish Commercial Code[2] for the purpose of providing radio, television and on-demand broadcast services. In other words, global media service providers which do not have a joint stock company in Turkey are not able to provide online broadcasting services in Turkey. The application for broadcasting licenses shall be made by filling out the necessary documents specified in Article 7 of the Regulation. The license is granted for ten (10) years.

1. Obligations of Media Service Providers

Pursuant to Article 16 of the Regulation, the media broadcast service providers’ obligations are provided as follows:

  • Keeping RTUK up to date regarding the information and documents previously provided,

  • Providing RTUK with information on corporate structure,

  • Encrypting both visual and audio content in encrypted broadcasts,

  • Providing audio and image files used in broadcast services to RTUK so that RTUK may remotely monitor the broadcasts, and where necessary provide RTUK with membership rights; license and usage rights to RTUK so that RTUK may record the broadcasts,

  • Providing RTUK with the website addresses that the broadcast will be made on, identification tags, addresses, registered e-mails, names and addresses of the representatives,

  • Providing RTUK with the requested broadcasting record within ten (10) days as of the date of the request,

  • Informing RTUK on the program catalogues for on-demand broadcasts,

  • Notifying RTUK on commercial communication incomes and paying RTUK the shares in this regard and paying broadcast license fees.

 

2. Obligations of Online Broadcasting Platform Operators

Pursuant to Article 17 of the Regulation, the online broadcasting platform operators are provided as follows:

  • Keeping RTUK up to date regarding the information and documents previously provided,

  • Providing services to media service providers fairly and non-discriminatively,

  • Notifying RTUK on the number of users that are provided with conditional access at the beginning of each December and when requested,

  • Upon request of RTUK, providing RTUK with the transmitted broadcasts in a way that enables them to be registered within the RTUK's system, granting requested number of subscriptions together with necessary software and hardware to RTUK,

  • Enabling RTUK to carry out remote monitoring of the visuals and audios used in broadcasts and to register them within the RTUK's system where necessary,

  • Notifying RTUK on name, address, telephone number, logo, license type and the language and jurisdiction of the license of the media providers whose broadcasts are transmitted at the beginning of each October and any changes on them within one month as of the date when change occurred at the latest,

  • Notifying RTUK on website, web masthead, address and registered electronic e-mail addresses and any changes on them and publishing them on their websites.

III. Fees

Article 12 of the Regulation regulates that the fee for radio broadcast license fee through the INTERNET-RD is TRY 10,000, for TV broadcast license fee through the INTERNET-TV and INTERNET- IBYH is TRY 100,000.

In addition to this, Regulation Amending the Regulation on Procedures and Principles on Auditing Commercial Communication Revenues of Media Service Providers and Declaration and Payment of the Supreme Council's Share was also published on the Official Gazette dated August 1, 2019 and numbered 30849 (“Amending Regulation”). The Amending Regulation requires the media service providers holding internet broadcasting license to declare their commercial communication revenues.

IV. Sanctions for Lack of Broadcast License and Broadcast Transmission Authorization

If RTUK detects broadcast services through Internet without a broadcast license, it is announced on RTUK's website and in such announcement informs the broadcaster, notifying that they can request a broadcast license by way of a petition and a letter of undertaking, along with a payment for license fees of three months, and an access ban request will be issued to the criminal judgeship of peace, and a criminal complaint will be filed, in case of failure to do so. If the broadcaster does not provide the petition and undertaking letter, and does not pay the license fees of three months, access ban procedure will be set out.

The media service providers broadcasting content without temporary broadcasting rights and/or broadcast licenses, and platform operators transmitting broadcasting services must apply for licenses or authorization within a month from the effective date of this Regulation. Otherwise, a criminal judgeship of peace may render a decision for removal and/or blocking of access of contents.

Conclusion

RTUK will be entitled to intervene in such online broadcasting services in Turkey. The Regulation imposes both administrative and criminal sanctions. They will need to obtain a license from RTUK to maintain their services. The companies providing online broadcasting services shall always assess whether their services comply with the clauses of the Regulation and they must not miss the deadline for applications in order to continue providing such services without any interruption

 

[1] Regulation on Provision of Radio, Television and On-Demand Broadcasts on Internet Medium published August 1, 2019 and numbered 30849.

 

[2] Turkish Commercial Code numbered 6201 dated 13.01.2011; published in the Official Gazette numbered 27846 dated 14.02.2011