The International Press Institute (IPI) and 18 press freedom, freedom of expression and human rights organisations call on the Turkish Press Advertising Agency (BİK) to withdraw without delay its alarming decision to revoke the right of the independent Evrensel newspaper to receive public ads, a vital source of financial income for the publication. BİK has a regulatory duty to act as an independent and fair distributor of public ads, and not to facilitate censorship through suppressing critical news outlets.

On 22 August 2022, Evrensel newspaper received BİK’s decision backdated to July 17, 2022, revoking its right to receive public ads. This move was prompted by an audit into alleged bulk buying that distorted Evrensel’s distribution figures against which measure the advertising levels are set. The right of Evrensel to receive public advertisements has been suspended since September 2019. With the latest decision, this suspended right was completely canceled.

In its decision, BİK stated that “the public ad ban on Evrensel was observed to be suspended for a full six months without break, excluding the period when such administrative monitoring was suspended due to the pandemic, therefore its right to receive public ads was revoked”. Evrensel has the right to appeal the decision in court. Should Evrensel be removed from BİK’s system to receive any public advertising, a new, swiftly launched application process for re-gaining the right to public ads would take at least three years. This drawn-out process would be detrimental to the newspaper’s financial stability.

See full statement