Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), has launched an investigation into the Turkish edition of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle due to what it said is its “biased reporting” on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas, Turkish Minute reported, citing the RTÜK chairman.
Ebubekir Şahin tweeted on Wednesday that the watchdog had launched an investigation into DW’s Turkish edition due to a report on its website on Oct. 16 titled “Which actions are considered war crimes?”
Şahin said just like in every sovereign state, Turkey has laws regulating broadcasts and that they are in line with EU criteria. He said RTÜK has the right to monitor the content of online media outlets and accused DW of violating the universal principles of journalism with its “manipulative and inaccurate” news reports.
He said RTÜK had taken the necessary legal action due to the report.
In the wake of the growing number of civilian deaths in Gaza from Israeli airstrikes, DW spoke to experts about what constitutes a war crime. According to the story, the killing of civilians and the targeting of civilian facilities do not always constitute a war crime, and civilian facilities can be targeted if it is seen as a military necessity in accordance with international law.
DW is accused of legitimizing the civilian deaths in Gaza where more than 3,700 people have been killed due to ongoing Israeli airstrikes.
The Turkish government is a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, and both the government and the opposition parties in Turkey condemn the Israeli attacks on civilians in Gaza, accusing the country of carrying out a massacre.
Israel began pounding Gaza after Hamas militants conducted an unprecedented surprise attack in Israel on Oct. 7 that claimed more than 1,400 lives.
The DW is accessible in Turkey only through VPN since the outlet was blocked in June 2022 along with the Turkish edition of Voice of America, the US state-owned international multimedia broadcaster, due to their refusal to obtain the online broadcasting licenses required by RTÜK.
The move has been described by media outlets as an attempt at censorship and an expansion of the Turkish government’s control of domestic media to foreign outlets, which are the only source of free and independent journalism for some people in Turkey, where the majority of the media is controlled by the government.
In 2019 Turkey revised its media regulations to allow RTÜK to supervise online broadcasts. Since the new regulations went into effect, various streaming platforms including Netflix and Amazon Prime have applied for and received licenses.
RTÜK is a controversial agency that is accused of contributing to increasing censorship in the country by imposing punitive and disproportionate sanctions on independent television and radio stations critical of the Turkish government.