Washington, D.C. — USAGM Acting CEO Kelu Chao spoke out against the Turkish government’s June 30 blocking of online news by international broadcasters including Voice of America.
VOA’s Turkish programming, and all of 32 language services of German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, were censored on Thursday when the Turkish authority responsible for media control RTÜK restricted access to their websites.
“With the attempted blocking of Voice of America and Deutsche Welle, RTÜK has made an alarming choice to pave the way for internet censorship. Audiences in Turkey deserve access to fact-based news about the world around them. Despite this latest attack on press freedom, USAGM will not be deterred in its mission to support the free flow of information to people in Turkey and across the globe,” said Kelu Chao, USAGM’s Acting CEO.
“We oppose this move as a thinly veiled effort to censor unfavorable press coverage,” said Acting VOA Director Yolanda López. “Upon learning that our site is now blocked, we firmly object to this latest action in Turkey’s efforts to restrict VOA’s ability to deliver accurate and objective news to its Turkish-speaking audience. Through circumvention tools and other means, VOA will not be deterred.”
In February 2022, RTÜK had called on VOA to obtain a license that would have allowed the Turkish government to censor editorial content.
News of Turkey’s actions spread quickly on social media in Turkey yesterday. Options to circumvent this censorship are in place and related information is available to audiences on social media.
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