The Advertisement Board Now Has the Authority to Block Access to the Online Content Violating the Advertising Rules

The Consumer Protection Law No. 6502 has been amended by the Law No. 7392 which was published in the Official Gazette on 01.04.2022. The amendments introduced into the Consumer Protection Law include wide range of major changes regarding commercial advertisements, the sanctions to be applied by Advertisement Board, distance sales contracts, e-commerce, refurbished and re-sold products, authorized service and special services within the scope of after-sales services.

As per the amendments the Advertisement Board has been authorized to block access to the online broadcast or content which is found violating the advertising rules. If it is not technically possible to block access only to the violating content or if the violation cannot be prevented by solely blocking access to the relevant content, the Advertisement Board can also order blocking access to the entire website where the violating content is available. The decision of the Advertisement Board will be implemented by the Internet Access Providers Association, which is a governmental organization with the duty of implementing blocking access decisions. The decision given by the Advertisement Board for blocking access can be objected before the Criminal Court of Peace, the objection will be reviewed in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code. On the other hand, other decisions of the Advertisement Board are subject to court action before Administrative Court. Hence the amendments caused a dual legal remedy against the Advertisement Board decisions.    

The traditional sanctions that the Advertisement Board used to apply were ordering administrative fine, correction decision and precautionary or temporary suspension decision against advertisements which violate the legal rules for advertisements broadcasted in any media including internet. Now, the Advertisement Board is also entitled to block access to the online content or entire website in case the violation is committed over the internet, together with these penalties. This new authority introduced by the amendments in the Consumer Protection Law considerably expanded the authority of the Advertisement Board. The actual practice of the Advertisement Board to be settled upon implementation of the relevant rules will determine if a strict control will be applied against internet advertisements.  

Another amendment enacted by the amending law is in terms of the penalties to be imposed by the Advertisement Board against advertisements broadcasted through satellite radio and satellite TV. The relevant article of the Consumer Protection Law in relation to the administrative fine to be imposed against violating advertisements regulates the fines for advertisements broadcasted through national and regional television/radio channels beside internet, text messages, other media like outdoor advertising. The advertisements broadcasted through satellite radio and TV channels were not explicitly ruled. However, given the number of television broadcasts over the satellite has tremendously increased in the recent years, the lack of an explicit rule in the Consumer Protection Law regarding advertisements broadcasted through satellite television and radio, caused hesitation about whether internet penalties or penalties applied to violations made through national and regional radio / TV broadcasts should be applied. In this direction, the amendments ruled that the administrative fine applied against advertisements broadcasted through regional radio channels can be applied to advertisements broadcasted through satellite radio broadcasts and that the administrative fine applied against advertisements broadcasted through internet can be applied to advertisements broadcasted through satellite TV broadcasts.

The relevant amendments will enter into force as from October 1, 2022.

First published by GALA in Apr 18, 2022.

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