Digital media battle flares up between Saudi Arabia and Turkey

In response to Turkey’s state broadcaster and news agency websites that were blocked in Saudi Arabia, Turkey blocked a number of Saudi and Emirates news websites. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has targeted the Turkish media after 20 Saudi Arabian citizens were accused by Turkish prosecutors of the murder of the journalist Jamal Kashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, in October 2018. Access to the websites of Saudi news agency SPA, the UAE’s WAM news agency, alongside more than a dozen other websites were blocked in Turkey, reportedly under a law governing Internet publications in Turkey. On the other hand, the Turkish website of the UK-based Independent newspaper, as well as several Turkish media websites – including state broadcaster TRT and the state-owned Anadolu agency – were blocked in Saudi Arabia. Editor Nevzat Cicek said that ‘we believe the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Turkey reflected on us. [The prosecutor’s decision appeared to be] retaliation against Saudi Arabia.’