Constitutional Court’s Decision Restricts the Advertisement Board's Criminal Jurisdiction
The Constitutional Court annulled the Article 77 of the Law No. 6502 on the Protection of Consumers ("Law"), which authorizes the Advertisement Board to impose access blocking sanctions on those who violate the commercial advertisement regulations. The decision of the Constitutional Court (2022/70 E. 2023/152 K.) was published in the Official Gazette on October 27, 2023.
In this regard, the paragraph 12 of the Article 77 of the Law, regulated as “in the event that the violation is carried out through the internet environment, the Advertisement Board may decide to block access (in the form of URL, etc.) regarding the publication, section, section where the violation occurs” and “in cases where it is technically impossible to block access to the infringing content or where the infringement cannot be prevented by blocking access to the relevant content, a decision to block access to the entire website may be rendered” was annulled with the decision of the Constitutional Court.
In this context, the Constitutional Court cited the freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 26 of the Constitution as justification for its annulment decision. According to the Constitutional Court, the authority granted to the Advertisement Board is restricting the freedom of expression without any limitations. The Constitutional Court further clarified that the Advertisement Board’s authority may infringe core rights and may cause arbitrary practices. The lack of a clear indication of the scope of the access block and the period for restoring access in the event of a violation was examined under the scrutiny of the Constitutional Court.
Finally, the decision underlines that the annulment will enter into force 9 months after its publication. Thus, as of August 2024, in case of a violation regarding commercial advertisements, the Advertisement Board will not be authorized to block access to the content or block access to the whole website.
Authors: Hatice Ekici Tağa, Begüm Alara Şahinkaya, Göksu Tuğrul