Turkey blocks Jay Z's Tidal streaming service

Turkey blocks Jay Z's Tidal streaming service
2 min read
28 November, 2020
Tidal failed to comply with new internet regulations, the Turkish government said.
Tidal is owned by rap giant Jay Z [Getty]
Turkey blocked access on Friday to Tidal after the Jay Z-owned music streaming service failed to comply with controversial internet regulations.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) said it had halted access to Tidal and other services after the company failed to acquire a Turkish broadcast license.

Last year, Ankara issued new internet regulations requiring any internet-based service with audio-visual or radio content to acquire government-issued licenses. 

The new restrictions were tightened this year and now require internet-based broadcasting and social media services such as Netflix and YouTube to appoint a legal representative in Turkey and comply with government requests to remove content.

At least 130,000 websites and 10,000 YouTube videos have been blocked under the wide-ranging restrictions, according to data collected by internet freedom advocacy group EngelliWeb.

Web services face massive fines and potential blocks on access in Turkey if they fail to comply with the regulations.

Earlier this month, the Turkish government issued a 10 million lira ($1.3 million) fine to social media giant Facebook for failing to appoint a local representative in the country.

While Ankara says the regulations are geared at controlling the spread of disinformation online, critics claim the restrictions are part of a crackdown on free speech in the country.

Earlier this year, Amnesty International described the measures as the "latest and perhaps the most brazen attack on free expression in Turkey".

"Journalists already spend years behind bars for their critical news and social media users must self-censure in fear of offending the authorities," said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty researcher for Turkey.

The new law "announces a dark period of online censorship", Human Rights Watch added.

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