Press Freedom Tested in Turkey as Government Bans Coverage of Terror Attacks

Press freedom in Turkey is under extreme pressure after the government prohibits TV channels from broadcasting news about terrorist attacks.
The limitations by the Turkish government entail, among other things, that television broadcasters cannot interrupt a program with a news broadcast when a terrorist attack takes place.
It is also forbidden to broadcast images of the terrorist attack or related aid. Eye witness accounts, analyses, and commentary on the event are also prohibited.

Independent broadcasting impossible

To enforce the new rules for news broadcasters, heavy penalties were introduced. "With a violation, the media authority can decide that a TV channel should be on black for an entire day. Multiple violations can lead to a retraction of the channel's license. That means that the broadcaster cannot work at all anymore," said news correspondent Luke Waagmeester.

President Erdogan does allow channels to show text with official statements in a bar at the bottom of the screen. According to Dutch sources, this means that the government has now made any form of independent information about a terrorist attack impossible.

Enforcement

The Turkish government has previously prohibited the broadcasting of images of attacks. Up until now, compliance was very limited. Even the most pro-government channels did not comply with the old rules. This was, among other things, because of the fact that the rules were barely enforced. It is expected that this will now change with these new rules in place.