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February 12, 2013, Tuesday

Media cats! What does Turkish law say about media compliance? (2)

I am continuing where I left off in Sunday's article on media compliance. Private media service providers annually conduct general assembly meetings in accordance with the provisions of the Turkish Commercial Code. Later, a copy of the Turkish Trade Registry Gazette must be completed within 15 days of announcements by media companies pertaining to commercial affairs and should be given to the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK).

A media service provider may only provide one radio, one television and one optional broadcasting service. There are some limitations with respect to partnerships. Thus, an individual and a legal entity may only be a direct or indirect partner of a media service provider which provides four territorial radio and/or television broadcasting services. Foreign legal entities and individuals may only have direct partnerships with at most two media service providers and the direct foreign share capital of the company may not be more than 50 percent of the paid capital.

Mergers and acquisitions of media companies in Turkey are big business, similar to elsewhere in the world. Whether it is an asset deal or shares deal, there are some particular regulations for media companies' transactions. In other words, the transfer of licenses and/or shares is also regulated more strictly in other industries. When a joint stock company with a broadcasting license transfers its shares, RTÜK must be informed of the final status of partnership and the voting shares of the company. Also, in cases where a media service provider acquires, merges with or demerges from another media service provider, RTÜK's permission must be obtained. Media service providers can just partially demerge. Competition Law provisions are reserved for such transactions. Therefore, if the transaction falls under the boundaries of where the Turkish competition authority should be involved, this has to be taken care of separately. Indeed, this requirement is always there and has to be considered whether it was written in the media service providers' compliance requirements communiqué or not.

The transfer of a broadcasting license is possible except in the case of territorial broadcasting licenses. Territorial broadcasting service providers can only stop their activities by returning their licenses to RTÜK.

As you can see, when it comes to compliance, even the media industry is subjected to regulations and these regulations are almost as strict as those required for the most serious businesses such as banks, financial leasing companies or insurance companies. Within all these strict regulations, media employees are supposed to accomplish and deliver a product with a smiling face.

NOTE: Berk Çektir is a Turkish lawyer and available to answer questions on the legal aspects of living and doing business in Turkey. Please send inquiries to [email protected] If a sender's letter is published, names may be disclosed unless otherwise expressly stated by the sender.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is intended to give basic legal information. You should get legal assistance from a licensed attorney at law while conducting legal transactions and not rely solely on the information in this column.

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