Turkish president vetoes media-registration law

Turkey’s president has vetoed a controversial media bill that critics say would have put sharp limitations on the freedom to publish information via the Internet.

The bill, passed by Parliament earlier this month, would have strengthened the powers of the High Audiovisual Board, responsible for overseeing content in broadcast media, and extended its authority to include Web sites. It provided for fines and prison sentences of six months to two years for media officials who continue to distribute information after being ordered by the board to stop.

Turkey uses legal controls to “silence the voices of undesirable groups, such as the Kurds, the far left and Islamic fundamentalists, along with mainstream journalists,” according to the press freedom advocacy group Reporters sans Fronti