According to Article 29 of the Constitution, “[p]ublication of periodicals or non-periodicals shall not be subject to prior authorization or the deposit of a financial guarantee. Submission of the information and documents specified by law to the competent authority designated by law is sufficient to publish a periodical. The principles regarding the publication, the conditions of publication and the financial resources of periodicals, and the profession of journalism shall be regulated by law. Any law, whatsoever, on this subject, may not impose any political, economic, financial, and technical conditions obstructing or making difficult the free dissemination of news, thoughts, or opinions.”
The Article 30 of the Constitution says: “A printing house and its annexes, duly established as a press enterprise under the law, and press equipment shall not be seized, confiscated, or barred from operation on the grounds of having been used in a crime.”
II. Radio and Television Broadcasts
The Law on Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (No. 359 Date 24 December 1963) gave the right to establish and operate the television stations to the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT)
The initial version of the Article 133 of the 1982 Constitution, regarding the radio and television broadcasting, stipulated that radio and television stations could be established only by the State and their administrations would be organized by a neutral public legal entity. Based on this constitutional provision, the Law on Turkey Radio and Television was adopted. (No. 2954 dated 11 November 1983), which repealed the former Turkey Radio and Television Corporation Law No. 359.
According to Law No. 2954, the broadcasting of radio and television broadcasts was in the monopoly of the state. This monopoly would be used by Turkey Radio and Television Corporation.
Article 133 of the Constitution was amended with the Law No. 3913, dated 8 July 1993.
This amendment rendered the establishment of radio and television stations and their operation free, under the conditions to be regulated by law. According to this current version Article 133 of the Constitution, therefore, the establishment and operation of radio and television stations have been released from the state monopoly. Consequently, private enterprises have been allowed to establish and operate private radio and television stations under the conditions to be regulated by law.
After the abolition of the state monopoly with the amendment to the Article 133 of the Constitution, The Law on the Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and Their Broadcasts (Law No. 3984, adoption date: 13 April 1994) was published in the official newspaper on 20 April 1994 and entered into force.
III.Radio And Televisions According To The Law Adopted In 2011
The Law on the Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and Their Media Services (No. 6112, adopted on: 15 February 2011) repealed the former law no 3984.
To a great extent, this law was prepared in line with the European Council Directive 89/552/EEC of 3 October 1989 on the pursuit of television broadcasting activities (Audiovisual Media Services Directive).
The purpose of the Law no 6112 is to regulate and supervise radio and television broadcasting services and on-demand media services; to ensure the freedom of expression and information; to determine the procedures and principles in relation to the administrative, financial and technical structures and obligations of media service providers and the establishment, organization, duties, competences and responsibilities of the Radio and Television Supreme Council.
According to this law (Article 3),
- “Broadcasting Licence” means the certificate of permission issued separately for each broadcasting type, technique and network by the Supreme Council to media service providers on the condition that they meet the provisions stated in this Law and by-laws and other regulations prepared in accordance with this Law in order to allow them to broadcast using any kind of technology via cable, satellite, terrestrial and similar networks.
- “Broadcaster” means a media service provider of a television and/or a radio broadcasting service. According to this law (Article 2), a media service provider will be considered to have been established in Turkey, if the service provider has its head office in Turkey and the editorial decisions pertaining to its media services are taken within the boundaries of Turkey. Yet if the editorial decisions on the media services of a Turkey-based service provider based are taken in another country, which is party to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, the service provider will be considered to have been established in the country, where a significant part of the workforce involved in the pursuit of the media service activity operates. Same rule applies if the editorial decisions on the media services are taken in Turkey but the head office is in another country which is party to the Convention.
The Article 19 of the The Law No. 6112 on the Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and Their Media Services regulates the “Private Media Service Providers”
Media service providers may issue and offer the capital market instruments to the public under the framework of the Capital Market Law No.2499 and its relevant legislation. In this case, as stipulated by the legislation, consent of the Supreme Council must be obtained before registration with the Capital Market Board. Shares issued to the public do not need to be registered.
Moreover, the Supreme Council, by getting the opinions of the relevant institutions, may refuse to grant permits by relying on the reasons such as, national security, protection of the public order, or public interest. According to a similar provision, the permit application of a media service provider corporation will be refused if its head of the executive, shareholders and members are reported, by the National Intelligeny Service, of being in contact or in close-connection with the terrorist organisations.
IV.Law on the Protection of Competition
Concentration / Monopolization occurs in a variety of ways in the provision of radio and television services.
Law on the Protection of Competition (No 4054 dated 12 December 1994) has the purpose of prevention of abuse of dominant position by those enterprises which are dominant in the market and the agreements, decisions and practices which prevent, restrict or distort competition within the markets for goods and services. (Article 1)
Turkish Competition Board does the necessary regulations and controls according to the provision of this Law. This Law covers all agreements, decisions and practices which prevent, distort or restrict competition between any undertakings operating in or affecting markets for goods and services within the borders of the Republic of Turkey; abuse of dominance by dominant undertakings in the market; any kind of legal transactions and behavior having the nature of mergers and acquisitions which may significantly decrease competition; and transactions concerning the measures, observations, regulations and supervisions aimed at the protection of competition. ( Article 2).
V.Provisions In The Press Law
According to the Constitution, the press is free, and shall not be censored. The establishment of a printing house shall not be subject to prior permission or the deposit of a financial guarantee. The State shall take the necessary measures to ensure freedom of the press and information. (Constitution, Article 29)
The Press Law No 5187 dated 9.6.2004 repealed the former Press Law no 5680. This law aims to regulate the freedom of the press and the implementation of this freedom and covers the printing and publication of printed matter. According to the provisions of this law, the printer means the real or corporate body that prints the matter with printing equipment or copies it with other equipment, whereas, the publisher means the real or corporate body that prepares and publishes printed matter.
According to the Press Law, in order to publish periodicals it is necessary and sufficient to submit a declaration to the Office of the local Chief Prosecutor, where the headquarters of the management of the relevant periodical is situated. In other words, publishing of periodicals is not subject to permission from the authorities, but subject to “declaration.” In order to publish a newspaper or other periodicals, a declaration must be submitted to the Office of the local Chief Prosecutor in order to be recorded. (Press Law Article 7)
VI. Publications and Broadcasting on the Internet
On 23 May 2007, “Law No. 5651 on Regulating Broadcasting (Publication) in the Internet and Fighting Against Crimes Committed by Means of Such Broadcasting (Publication)” entered into force in order to regulate the publications or broadcasts in Turkey. The law has two aims. The first on is to determine the obligations and responsibilities of the content provider, location provider, access provider, and the other is to determine the principles and procedures related to the fight against certain offenses committed on the Internet via those whose responsibilities and obligations are shown.
Content, domain and access providers are obliged to keep the introductory information in a way that is accessible to the users in their own internet environment and within the framework of the principles and procedures determined by the by-law.
The Telecommunication Information Authority was abolished and any reference to the Telecommunication Information Authority by other legislation will be deemed to have been made to the Information Technologies and Communication Authority (ICTA-Bilgi Teknolojileri ve İletişim Kurumu [BTK]) An authorization document shall be issued by the Authority (former Telecommunication Communication Authority / the new ICTA) to the persons who act as domain or access providers, in order to perform relevant activities regardless of whether they have obtained authorization for communication.