November 4, 2010 / 4:18 PM / in 8 years

Turkey foreign media ownership law clears committee

ANKARA, Nov 4 (Reuters) - A parliamentary panel on Thursday approved a long-awaited liberalisation of Turkey’s media sector that would double the stake foreigners can own in broadcasters to 50 percent.

The law, which would open Turkey’s fast-growing media sector to more acquisitions from abroad, now goes to the full parliament for a final vote.

The ruling, pro-business AK Party, which has backed the reform, has a majority in parliament but nationalist MPs have said they will oppose it.

The AKP tried to reform foreign ownership rules in 2005 but the bill was vetoed by the former president.

The current president, Abdullah Gul, is a former AKP member, and has a track record of approving legislation passed by the AKP-dominated parliament.

Turkey’s media sector is dominated by Dogan Yayin DYHOL.IS. Dogan, which owns mass circulation newspapers such as Hurriyet and Milliyet as well as television stations, confirmed last month it had received bids for its units and said an offer from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (NWSA.O) was too low.

The company, which is embroiled in a dispute with the government and tax authorities, did not name all the bidders, although sources said Germany’s RTL Group and U.S. based Time Warner TWX.N as well as private equity groups might be interested.

A young population, coupled with annual economic growth seen around 6.8 percent, makes the Turkish media market attractive to investors. A population of 75 million speaking the same language is also a plus for advertisers, analysts say. (Editing by David Cowell)

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