Türkiye: Protect media freedom and reinstate Açık Radyo’s licence

Türkiye: Protect media freedom and reinstate Açık Radyo’s licence - Media

ARTICLE 19 , the International Press Institute (IPI) and 16 partner freedom of the press and free expression organisations condemn Türkiye’s broadcast regulator’s decision to revoke the licence of independent radio station Açık Radyo. We call on the authorities in Türkiye to uphold their obligations to protect press freedom and freedom of expression in line with the Turkish Constitution and international human rights law, and to reinstate Açık Radyo’s licence. Media outlets in Türkiye must be free to enable debate on issues of public interest without fear of sanctions.

Radio licence revoked following on-air ‘Armenian genocide’ remarks

Türkiye’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) penalised Açık Radyo in May after a guest spoke of ‘the 109th anniversary of the deportations and massacres, referred to as genocide, that occurred on Ottoman soil’ live on air. The guest continued: ‘The Armenian genocide commemoration was banned again this year, as you know’. RTÜK accused the station of ‘inciting hatred or enmity or to foster feelings of hatred in society’ under Article 8 of Law No. 6112 and ordered an administrative fine and a five-day suspension for the broadcast. Açık Radyo paid the fine but continued to broadcast its programmes, which RTÜK deemed a violation of the conditions set forth in its sanction. In July, RTÜK revoked Açık Radyo’s broadcasting licence.

İlhan Taşcı, a member of RTÜK nominated by the country’s main opposition party, CHP, announced RTÜK’s decision on X. Taşcı told IPI: ‘The issue could have been approached from the perspective of strengthening press freedom, considering that the broadcaster paid the fine. Based on this, a decision favouring the broadcaster could have been made – one that upholds press freedom while ensuring the public does not lose a radio station that has operated for 30 years.’

In its press release, Açık Radyo protested RTÜK’s decision with the following words: ‘It is unacceptable that, on the basis of an expression, which indisputably stands within the scope of freedom of expression and press freedom, voiced during our programme “Açık Gazete”, we now face the revocation of Açık Radyo’s broadcast licence.’ Launched in 1995, Açık Radyo (‘Open Radio’) is an independent, not-for-profit media organisation.

Continued harassment of independent media

The revocation of Açık Radyo’s licence comes amid a series of penalties that RTÜK has imposed on six different TV and radio channels this year. These media outlets, known for their critical reporting, include Now TV, which was fined four times, and Tele1, which was fined three times. In most cases, the channels were given a 2% administrative fine.

In the case of Açık Radyo, the remarks in question are clearly covered by the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by international human rights law, including the European Convention on Human Rights. We urgently call on RTÜK to swiftly reinstate Açık Radyo’s licence.

More broadly, we call on RTÜK to act according to its mandate and secure freedom of expression and media pluralism in the country instead of censoring critical and independent media. We also call on the Turkish authorities to reconsider their approach toward media regulation.



International Press Institute (IPI)


Articolo 21

The Coalition For Women In Journalism (CFWIJ)

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)

Foreign Media Association Turkey (FMA Turkey)

Freedom House


Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA)

Media and Migration Association (MMA)

PEN America

PEN International

PEN Norway

Platform for Independent Journalism (P24)

Progressive Journalists Association (ÇGD)

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)

Swedish PEN


This statement was produced by IPI as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and candidate countries, funded by the European Commission.