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Journalists fear broad new law will stifle online news media in Turkey

Free speech advocates fear a new law requiring licenses for web streaming services and online news broadcasters may be used to tighten censorship on the Turkish media.
People use computers at an internet cafe in Ankara April 6, 2015. Twitter has complied with Turkey's request to remove images of an Istanbul prosecutor held at gunpoint by far-left militants and the block of access to is about to be lifted, a Turkish official told Reuters on Monday. Turkey banned access to the micro-blogging site and YouTube after they refused a request to remove photographs of Mehmet Kiraz, a prosecutor killed in a shootout last week. REUTERS/Umit Bektas  - GF10000051058

The operating space for critical journalism in Turkey continues to steadily shrink. As pro-state entities took over most mainstream outlets and government decrees shuttered dozens of opposition media organizations, Turkish journalists have increasingly moved toward online platforms to continue their work.

Now state regulators are seeking to restrict online broadcasting with a new law that free speech advocates claim may be used to silence what’s left of alternative news sources in Turkey, both domestic and foreign-based. On Aug. 1, Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) authorized an amendment to require streaming services and online broadcasters to obtain licenses — costing up to $18,000 (100,000 liras) — to continue reaching Turkish audiences.

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