Local Content Requirements of TV Broadcasting



1. Foreign Language Programming

Law no. 6112 on "Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and their Media Services" (“Media Law”) does not prohibit broadcasting in foreign languages; however, broadcasts made in foreign languages shall follow the rules of that preselected language and be supervised by the RTÜK. As regulated in the Regulation on “The Procedures and Principles of Broadcasting Services” (“Broadcasting Procedures Regulation”), the ability of media service providers to broadcast in different languages ​​and dialects is subject to the permission of the RTÜK. Media service providers who request to broadcast in different languages ​​and dialects should apply to the RTÜK with the decision of the board of directors, which determines the languages ​​and dialects they want to broadcast, the types of programmes to be broadcast in these languages ​​and dialects, the placement of these programmes in the daily broadcast stream and the monthly broadcast plans. However, permission is not required for individual musical works, motion pictures, commercial communication and on-demand broadcasting services in different languages ​​and dialects. “On-demand broadcasting services” means online digital media content sources, it is defined as subscription based such as VOD (Video on Demand), AVOD (Advertisement Supported Video on Demand), SVOD (Subscription supported Video on Demand), TVOD (Transactional Video on Demand), FVOD (Free Video on Demand), AuthVOD (Authenticated Video on Demand).


For other types of broadcasts, the current number of media services providers broadcasting in different languages and dialects are as indicated in the table below. [1]


















In addition, since there are no special regulations for the establishment of the news site, there are no restrictions on the partnership structure or the language of the publication.


2. Minimum Share of Content in Turkish Language

According to Broadcasting Procedures Regulation, if television organizations broadcasting general and thematic content include cartoons in their children's broadcasts, at least 20% (twenty percent) of the cartoons and at least forty percent (40%) of other children's programmes must be produced in Turkish and reflect Turkish culture. Statistical data on the publication hours and durations of children's publications and information on the place of production are reported to RTÜK in monthly breakdowns. There are not any other local content quotas for media service providers.

In addition, there is no any legal obligation for media service providers regarding the percentage of content produced in Turkey. However, it is expected to produce content suitable for the Turkish language and culture and to act in accordance with the principles of broadcasting service with a sense of public responsibility.

The content required to be broadcasted for television broadcasters that hold a national terrestrial broadcasting license is as follows:

  • Television broadcasters are obliged to allocate at least fifty percent (50%) of their broadcast time to European works, excluding the time allocated to news, sport events, contests, advertisements, teleshopping and related data broadcasts; and 
  • they must allocate ten percent (10%) of their broadcast time or programme budget broadcasts to European works of independent producers, excluding the time allocated to news, sporting events, contests, advertisements, tele-shopping and related data.
  • RTUK imposes an obligation on foreign based satellite broadcasters that broadcast via Turkish satellite platforms or cable systems to obtain a local satellite license for a television, radio or on demand broadcast service channels. This obligation was already in place for terrestrial broadcasters, who, by nature, were Turkish companies incorporated and operating under Turkish Commercial Code.
  • the offshore broadcasts channeled to Türkiye via Turkish satellite platforms and cable systems that are Turkish dubbed or include insertion of Turkish ads or any other Turkish content, are exempt from the local satellite broadcast license requirements. In the event of a broadcast without a license, RTUK will instruct the infrastructure or platform operator to cease all broadcasts of the relevant media service providers, if the platform does not comply with RTUK’s request, its broadcast transmission authorization will be cancelled as set out in Media Law.

Retransmission is defined as “complete or partial reception of the technique and means used of broadcast service provided by a media service provider and transmitting it simultaneously in an unchanged form” according to Media Law and Article 2/b of the European Convention on Transfrontier Television. The essential point here is to change somehow the source transmission by insertion of local ads, any kinds of programs, various Turkish content or Turkish subtitled programs for the local audience. If the broadcaster changes the content by means of any abovementioned ways, it is obliged by the RTUK Law to obtain a local satellite license in order to conduct broadcasting activities in Turkey. However broadcasters transmitting directly their original foreign content are not under this obligation and accordingly to establish a joint stock company for obtaining a local satellite license in Turkey.

3. Requirements for Subtitle or Sign Language

According to Regulation on “The Procedures and Principles on Improvement of Access to Broadcast Services for the Deaf and the Hearing and Virtually Handicapped”, TV programmes that have been made accessible with at least one of the audio description, subtitles or sign language methods have been defined as “disabled-friendly programmes”. In addition, in order to provide access to broadcast services for the deaf, hearing and visually impaired people, the broadcast time of disabled-friendly programmes is the sum of the monthly broadcast time of the media service provider has to reach:

  • at least ten percent (10%) within six (6) months,
  • twenty-five percent (25%) within two (2) years, with at least five percent (5%) in detailed subtitles, at least five percent (5%) in sign language, at least five percent (5%) in audio description translation types,
  • forty percent (40%) within two (5) years, with at least ten percent (10%) in detailed subtitles, at least 10 percent (10%) in sign language, at least 10 percent (10%) in audio description translation types.
  • Except for the main news, it is obligatory to broadcast at least two (2) evening programmes a week as disabled-friendly programmes in their first broadcasts or within a week after their first broadcast.

Also, in order to ensure freedom of expression and information, it is mandatory media service providers to;

  • broadcast one of the main news bulletins in sign language on a daily basis,
  • voice the weather and road status screens,
  • voice the current market and currency status screens, and
  • voice the score status screens.

Disabled-friendly programmes broadcast between 02:00-06:00, main news, public announcements and commercial communication broadcasts at the beginning, end or between parts of disabled-friendly programmes are not taken into account in the calculation of these rates.

Statistical data on the broadcasting rates of disabled-friendly programmes should be shared with RTÜK with the help of a monthly form.

4. Specific Requirements Regarding Child Protection Law

In accordance with Broadcasting Procedures Regulation, broadcasting services must not contain abusive or incite violence against children, the weak and the disabled. Especially, commercial communication content should not harm the physical, mental or moral development of children, and should not encourage children to buy or rent a product or service by exploiting their inexperience or naivety; should not lead directly buying products or services being advertised, not directly encourage them to persuade their parents or others to do so; children's not abuse their trust in their parents, teachers or others; or should not show children in dangerous situations for no reason.

Media service providers inform the audience about the content of their programme services, either in audio or in writing, using a protective symbol system.

In addition, on-demand broadcasting service providers, is obliged to provide the services that may adversely affect the physical, mental or moral development of children and young people in a way that they cannot hear or see under normal conditions according to Media Law.

Also, foods that will not be allowed to be advertised in children's programmes in the list of the Ministry of Health (red category); “Chocolate and Candies, Waffles, Energy Bars, Sweet Sauces and Desserts, Cakes, Sweet Biscuits, Fruit Shares, Chocolate Coated Biscuits, Cake Mixes, Chips, Crispy Cookies, Fruit Juices, Energy Drinks, All Soft Drinks with Sugar or Sweetener, Edible "Ice" and food products in these categories cannot be advertised together with children's programmes according to the Media Law.

All types of content must be accompanied by the protective symbols regardless of whether the target audience is children. For example, "-" sign is used for programs that contain behaviors that may set a negative example for children, and "7+" sign is used to indicate that the program is suitable for viewing only by those aged 7 and over.

In accordance with Media Law, media service providers that have broadcast licenses from the internet environment and internet broadcast platform operators who are authorized to transmit broadcasts are obliged to take parental control measures for broadcasts that may harm the physical, mental or moral development of children. Media service providers and internet broadcast platform operators whose broadcasting licenses are issued from the internet environment where the child cannot be a member and that service with a personalized membership system are not applicable for the protection of children in the Media Law.

If measures restricting the access of children (parental guidance, control, limitations or others) are taken by the broadcaster (even creating a membership with a credit card system may be sufficient in our opinion), in this case, they will remain out of the scope of Media Law. However, free internet broadcasters that are is easily accessible to children, should be evaluated within the scope of Media Law. The important issue is therefore to take measures to ensure parental control for the protection of children and to interpret the scope of providers providing services with a personalized membership system that children cannot be a member of, together with Media Law. Therefore, relevant clauses are intended for the purposes of protecting children. In this context, they will not be applied for publishers with a membership system within the framework of Media Law

One may also consider that some of the other provisions under Media Law mentioned such as the ones against alcohol, tobacco, sexually obscene or violent content that are also mainly targeting the protection of children as per the general justification of the Media Law and therefore an exemption may be considered regarding the requirements for blurring of cigarettes and alcohol and/or exclusion of sex and violence containing scenes (as they are already applied currently for regular TV broadcasts).

5. Content Requirements Due to the Predominance of the Muslim Religion

Turkey is a country where secularism is recognized by the constitution. Since the majority of citizens are Muslim, there are no legal obligations imposed on broadcasters about religion. There are principles that broadcasters must adhere to equally for all segments of the public and all faiths. Broadcasting services cannot be contrary to the national and spiritual values of the society, general morality, and the principle of family protection within the scope of the principles regulated in the Media Law. Besides that, advertising and tele-shopping broadcasts cannot be placed in the religious ceremony broadcast in any way.

[1] https://www.rtuk.gov.tr/yayin-izni-verilen-kuruluslar/3823

Tagged with: Alper Law Office, Onur Alper, İpek Kaymaklı, Dilşad Karakuş, Media & Entertainment

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