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Turkish government readies to squeeze internet service providers

Ankara is tightening its grip even further over the media in Turkey with a new law increasing its censorship powers over online content, threatening both independent news outlets and domestic access to international reporting.
Headquarters of Hurriyet daliy newspaper at the Dogan Media Center is seen in Istanbul, Turkey March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan - RC1EE04890F0

The government’s chokehold over Turkey’s beleaguered media is tightening with the slapping on of new restrictions and the concurrent sale of the country’s last notionally independent media conglomerate to a pro-government group. The moves are widely seen as part of a concerted push by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to guarantee victory for himself and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in critical municipal, parliamentary and presidential elections that are due to be held next year. With the country near evenly split between those who support Erdogan and the rest who don't, squelching the few persistently critical voices is key.

The first blow came when the AKP-dominated parliament passed a new law last week giving the state media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council, further censorship powers over content broadcast or streamed via the internet.

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