Turkey’s media watchdog has warned Spotify to “regulate its content” in line with Turkish legislation or risk critical items being removed or cut, a number of English language Arab outlets report, among them arabnews.com and albawaba.com.
Spotify has an operating license in Turkey after having applied for one in October last year.
Spotify on its website promotes a series of podcasts called Tell Them, I Am “that spotlights the universal stories of Muslim voices….. The series features a variety of influential guests, from activists and artists to actors and athletes, who share their own thought-provoking and often relatable stories.”
The Arab news outlets say Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) has warned that it will consider removing or cutting all content found “inappropriate” wigt the outlets noting this is “a term that is open to interpretation when applied to high-profile critical podcasts that attract large audiences.”
“The digital platform has gained a wide audience recently as one of the last remaining outlets for free speech in Turkey, especially with its podcasts providing critical reporting and commentary on Turkish domestic politics”, arabnews.com and albawaba.com report.
“The RTUK’s move to regulate the content of streaming companies is another example of the Turkish government’s efforts to tighten its grip on online content,” Cathryn Grothe, research associate at Freedom House in New York, told arabnews.com and albawaba.com
“Streaming services such as Spotify create a unique space where people can express themselves, relate to loved ones and friends over shared music or podcasts, and engage on a range of important issues, including human rights and politics,” she said.
Utku Cakirozer, a journalist and MP from the main opposition Republican People’s Party, said that restrictions over digital media had been discussed since 2019.
“Such legislative constraints will only boost the global perception about the extent of censorship in Turkey. If you tend to ban a digital platform just after it is granted a license, it will go away sooner or later. You cannot expect them to accept such restrictions forever,” he told arabnews.com and albawaba.com