Broadcasting & Entertainment

Bicak provides legal advice on all media, printing, broadcasting, and entertainment matters. We advise and assist our clients on all matters including copyright, trademarks, licensing, privacy, confidentiality, dispute resolution, employment, mergers, acquisitions, defamation, and complaints management. Our clients include music industry participants, radio broadcasters, internet service providers (ISPs), and television broadcasters.

Turkey’s position in the area of media and entertainment and the approaches taken by the country’s courts have been shaped by the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and dissemination of thought and freedom of the press are influencial elements, together with the regime of limitations that applies in the sector and including past and current practices.

Technological developments

In addition, the media and entertainment sector is one that has been markedly affected by technological developments such as digitalisation and the widespread use of social media. Thus, in practice, a very active regulatory process combines with extensive self-developed working practices to produce and specify rules for participants in this area. Also, Turkey is not only a significant country in terms of media issues but also an important market in the entertainment sector. Turkey is a transportation hub between Europe and Asia, and many global companies have manufacturing facilities in Turkey. Therefore, developments and recent changes have to be followed closely to ensure compliance with applicable regulations.

Complexity and variety

Media and entertainment encompasses a large, complex and diverse range of legal disciplines regulated by different pieces of legislation in Turkey. As a result of this complexity and variety, many pieces of legislation from different sources and at different levels come into play, from the Constitution to sectoral laws and authority decisions.

Regulations and legislations

The main sources of legislation are constitutional law followed by sectoral laws and secondary legislation. In addition to that, some areas are not yet governed by sector-specific laws and secondary legislation; thus, general laws and court decisions also serve as guides for practice in the sector. Finally, because of rapid technological developments, new pieces of legislation may be necessary to satisfy new needs and provide responses to the new issues arising. It is also important to note that new regulations and legislation may be affected by social customs and the country’s political situation.

Turkey has varied legislations for broadcasting & printing icluding radio and television enterprises and printed press. The legal framework provides specific rules for media service providers for concentration control, regulation of property and media transparency to some degree.

Legal thresholds to prevent concentration

Media concentration for audio-visual media is regulated with Law 6112 on “Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and their Media Services.” Furthermore, the Competition Authority is entitled to take action against distortion of competition according to Law 7441 on the “Protection of Competition.” compliance with laws. The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) is the authority assigned to ensure compliance with the laws for radio, television and on-demand media services.

It mainly monitors and supervises the broadcasts of media service providers, and supervises the television channel and radio frequency planning in the framework of frequency bands for the terrestrial radio and television broadcasts.The Competition Authority is the authority for the prohibition of cartels and other restrictions on competition, prevention of abuse of dominant position by an entity, which has dominance in a certain market and prevention of the creation of new monopolies by monitoring some merger and acquisition transactions.

Independent regulatory bodies

Both the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) and the Competition Authority are stipulated as independent public bodies in regulation. The RTÜK Board consists of nine members. The Competition Board is the decision-making body of the Competition Authority and is composed of seven members.

Since the members of the Supreme Council are being elected by the Turkish Grand National Assembly from among the nominees based on the number of members for each political party group, the number of nominees depends on the political parties’ seats in the Parliament. Therefore the Supreme Council lacks independence by reason of its election process. RTÜK has for a long time been criticized for its political decisions. 

Transparency obligations

The legislation in force requires a certain amount of transparency from the media. Media service providers are obliged to publish information on the name of the company, its correspondence address, telephone and email address, its logo/call sign, their broadcasting license and broadcasting networks, the name, surname and contact information of its accountable manager in an up-to-date manner in their websites and notify such information to the Supreme Council. However, the true powers and relations within these companies may never become fully transparent through this obligation.

Granting of licenses

RTÜK is the relevant authority for regulating and supervising radio, television and on-demand media services. The state-owned broadcaster TRT, Turkish Radio-Television Corporation notifies the number of broadcast services to be conducted by terrestrial means and their coverage area to the Supreme Council, which then decides under the frequency plans what percentage of such requests will be met.In the print sector, creating a media is subject to a simple declaration to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s office.The creation of online media is not subject to a specific legal regime.

In March 2018, the new bill granting the RTUK (Radio and Television Supreme Council) authority to regulate online content has been approved by the parliament. The regulation of the content was not limited to commercial streaming services such as Netflix, Blu TV etc, as well as foreign-based online platforms.

Media ownership

Private media service providers must comply with provisions regarding their company structures and share percentages, as stated in the Law on Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and their Media Services. The same company can only provide one radio, one television and one on demand broadcast service.

One real person or legal entity can directly or indirectly hold shares of a maximum of four media service providers. However, the annual total commercial communication income of media service providers in which a real person or legal entity is a direct or indirect shareholder cannot exceed thirty per cent of the total commercial communication income of the sector in case of holding shares in more than one media service provider.

Broadcast license may be granted to joint stock companies established in accordance with the provisions of the Turkish Commercial Code for the purpose of exclusively providing radio, television and on demand broadcast service, and cannot be granted to political parties, labor unions, professional organizations, cooperatives, associations, societies, foundations, local administrations, any companies which are established by them and of which they are direct or indirect shareholders and capital market institutions and real persons and legal entities who are direct or indirect shareholders of these institutions. The proportion of total direct foreign capital in a media service provider cannot exceed fifty per cent of the paid-in capital.

Extensive practice 

Our media and entertainment practice is extensive, and market leading. We deal with all types of matter on a day to day basis, including broadcasting, image rights exploitation, social media, content creation and protection, and traditional forms of media and rights exploitation.

We have particular experience in relation to music, our team including professionals that have worked on an in house level in the recording, management and music publishing industries. We support the Musicians Union and its members. We have similar experience in the publishing sector, and support Publishing Union and its members.

In broadcasting, film and television, we have assisted upon most of the major sports broadcasting deals in Turkey in the last 20 years. We have also advised upon many of Turkey’s major location filming arrangements, and continue to work with many sector funders in relation to both scheme and specific project support.

On a governmental level, we have assisted with the drafting and implementing of new media and entertainment related legislation, at Turkey parliament level.

As we work at the forefront of media and entertainment law, our knowledge grows as technology, practice and society develops. Our team is therefore well suited to advise on new means of rights commercialisation, whether it be influencer or digital creator arrangements, to novel platform based content delivery means.

Our team is highly experienced in relation to rights acquisition and exploitation, on Turkey and international level. Matters we have assisted upon often concern household names in the music, publishing, television, film and streaming sectors. Working with our network of trusted contacts, we are attuned to identify and deal with peculiarities in rights matters which may arise in foreign jurisdictions, whether licensing, transfer, optioning or investment.

Bicak advises diversified local, regional and global media companies, production and distribution houses, studios, digital and new media companies, iconic celebrities, licensors/rights holders and individual talent, as well investors and financiers leveraging the practice’s global reach and full-spectrum experience. We also regularly assist clients both locally and internationally in relation to media and entertainment disputes.


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