29 Eylül 2020, Salı
Ana Sayfa Media Media Freedom Reporters Without Borders reacts against the "Social Media Regulations Bill" in Turkey

Reporters Without Borders reacts against the “Social Media Regulations Bill” in Turkey

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns an amendment to the law on “Internet crimes” that Turkey’s government has submitted to parliament with the aim of silencing mounting online criticism. The government’s goal is to control social media, the only remaining refuge for critical journalists in Turkey, RSF said.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published an article on the latest social media regulations bill. Turkey has more than 37 million Facebook subscribers and 16 million Twitter subscribers, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is keener than ever to tighten his legislative grip on these and other social media platforms after being undermined by a great deal of online criticism since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
At his request, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) submitted the bill to amend the law on Internet crimes to parliament on 21 July. This is a law that, since its adoption in 2007, the authorities have already massively exploited to silence online media by abusing provisions penalizing insults and threats to national security.
The government now aims to force social media platforms to open an office in Turkey, comply with requests and decisions by Turkey’s courts, and pass on notifications from the Turkish authorities to their subscribers. Pressed by the president, parliament could vote on the bill this week, before the start of its summer break.
The proposed 11-article amendment comes on the heels of one that has subjected digital media to control by the High Council for Broadcasting (RTÜK) since September 2019.
AKP vice-president Özlem Zengin announced on 21 July that the government’s aim is for each social media platform with more than 1 million connections a day to appoint a representative in Turkey with whom the Turkish authorities can resolve problems arising from cases of insults, intimidation andviolation of privacy.
Claiming that France, Germany and the United States are trying to introduce similar legislations, Zengin said the aim was not to close down platforms. If they refuse to appoint a local representative, she said, they will be subjected to phased sanctions: an initial administrative fine of 10 million Turkish lira (1.3 million euros), then a fine of 30 million lira (3.9 million euros), then a ban on advertising and withdrawal of earnings, and finally, as a last resort, a reduction in bandwidth. Internet access providers would be required to implement this final sanction within four hours.
The Turkish authorities also want these platforms to create a mechanism for responding within 48 hours to complaints about “violations of personal rights” or to judicial orders to remove content. If offending content is not removed, websites will be rendered inaccessible within four hours.
Internet hosting service providers that fail to inform the persons concerned about the Turkish authorities’ requests could be given an administrative fine ranging from 1 million lira (130,000 euros) to 10 million lira (1.3 million euros).
“After being politically weakened, it is deplorable that the sole response President Erdogan has found is to nationalize the management of international digital platforms in order to silencethe fierce criticism he has been receiving on the Internet – the only refuge left for outspoken journalists,” RSF Turkey representative Erol Onderoglu said.
“Subjecting these platforms to the control of courts that are under the president’s thumb will close the small window through which many online journalists are still just about managing to breathe. It is clear that such control aims to silence the growingpolitical unrest and will impact on the flow of critical and independent information, which is primordial in a polarizedsociety.”
The president had nothing to say when the army of trolls controlled by his party waged intimidation and disinformation campaigns against his critics, including journalists of various political tendencies. In June, Twitter closed 7,340 accounts controlled by AKP trolls that had executed a total of 37 million shares, including 1.7 million (tweets, retweets, etc.) involving Erdogan.
While carrying out a series of reforms last April that included the early release of 100,000 detainees as an anti-coronavirus measure, the government tried to introduce an amendment that would have ended the right to online anonymity on the declared grounds combatting “violations of privacy” on social media platforms.
Withdrawn at the last moment, it has resurfaced now following the irresponsible sharing of tweets insulting Erdogan’s son-in-law, finance minister Berat Albayrak, after he announced that his wife, Esra Albayrak (the president’s daughter), had given birth to their fourth child. Erdogan’s aides blocked comments on his account just as thousands of young people were expressing disagreement with his comments, and as the hashtag #OyMoyYok (We won’t vote for you) was leading Twitter trends.
“You understand now why we oppose these social media,” Erdogan said in 1 July. “This nation and this country do not deserve this treatment. This is why we want to address this issue as quickly as possible in parliament and suppress all these platforms.”
The government also wields direct control over many judges, who censor scores of online articles without giving any reason. In mid-February, one of these judges ordered the blocking of 232 articles that had been published online by news sites and other media outlets including CumhuriyetBianetDikenBirGünArtı GerçekGazete DuvarT24OdatvSputnik TürkiyeEvrensel, Halk TVTele1 and Gerçek Gündem.

They all referred to the finance minister’s purchase of land in Eastern Thrace (Turkey’s westernmost region) through which the government plans to dig a canal linking the Black Sea andthe Sea of Marmara.

According to the news website Bianet, RSF’s partner in Turkey, 586 online articles and nine social media accounts were rendered inaccessible by the Turkish courts in 2019 in the course of “the Turkish government’s war against independent information online.”

In March 2019, RSF reported that in 2018 the courts had blocked access to at least 2,950 articles and journalistic content items, including stories about political corruption, clientelism, human rights violations and exploitation or workers, and that an unknown number of content blockings were carried out without references to the courts.

The Turkish authorities also had no qualms about blocking all access to the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia from April 2017 to January 2020 because of content accusing them of complicity with Islamic State.

Turkey is ranked 154th out of 180 countries and territories in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

Support by Following Us

133TakipçilerTakip Et
10,333TakipçilerTakip Et

Latest News

Claim: Islamist organizations preparing for civil war in Turkey

In recent years due to increasing personal armament in Turkey, the claims of a social conflict have been brought up from time to time....

Presidential “Consent Manufacturing Center” initiated in Turkey

Turkish government has initiated a new mechanism under the title "Strategic Communications & Crisis Management Department" which is authorised to "engage in psychological operations,...

MHP leader Bahçeli called for Death Penalty to be reinstated

MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli made a statement, "Reinstating the death penalty in our legislation may deter the commitment of heinous and primitive crimes." Government's far...

Violence against Women: The State, The Women’s Movement and Twitter, and the case of Musa Orhan

The case, which started with the rape of young woman İpek Er by Specialized Sergeant Musa Orhan turned into a nationwide debate after the...

Opposition MP attacked violently after getting targeted by Minister of Interior

Turkish Workers Party TİP member of parliament, actor Barış Atay criticized the Minister of Interior for release of an alleged rapist from prison as...

CHP deputy kicked by police during Victory Day March

During the August 30 Victory Day March in Kırşehir, police prevented main opposition CHP representatives. During the quarrel, police kicked CHP Kırşehir deputy Dr....

CHP metropolitan mayors criticize AKP’s management of coronavirus pandemic

CHP's metropolitan mayors Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş attended an online webinar organized by IYI Party. The two mayors criticized lack of transparency concerning...

Related News

“Press receiving foreign funding uses media power as a weapon against the state and the nation” Communications Director Altun

Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun targeted the media groups that receive funding from outside of Turkey to allegedly promote manipulative content against "our President's...

IPI condemnms conviction of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today condemned the nearly three-year prison...

dokuz8NEWS’ flagship account @dokuz8haber has been restricted again on Twitter

On June 7, 2020 dokuz8NEWS' twitter account for its main Turkish publication channel dokuz8haber has been restricted again disallowing the editors to publish news...

dokuz8NEWS twitter account temporarily locked upon complaint from “Messiah”

dokuz8NEWS' English language account was locked down temporarily due to a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) request concerning a news piece that was published...

Main opposition CHP’s Media Report: “How did AKP eradicate 200 year old Turkish media in 17 years?”

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul Deputy Yüksel Mansur Kılınç, compiled a report on “Media in Turkey 2019” for ‘January 10 Working Journalists'...
- Advertisement -