Turkey: new law against "disinformation"

A new media law in Turkey foresees up to three years in jail for those convicted of spreading "disinformation". Not only journalists but also users of social media can be punished. Commentators accuse the government of restricting freedom of expression and criticise the law also against the backdrop of the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in June 2023.

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Sözcü (TR) /

Society is to be silent

For Sözcü, it is clear why the AKP government is enacting such a law in the run-up to the elections:

“This government does not want diversity of opinion in the country. Everyone is to be silent and only AKP supporters should speak up! The citizen's duty is to listen to and support the government, regardless of whether what it says is true or not. Citizens are not supposed to see, write or speak the truth and especially not post critical tweets! ... Is such a thing possible in a democratic constitutional state? Of course not! But we're not really a democracy, we only call ourselves one. With a crippled understanding of democracy, we are going further and further backwards.”

T24 (TR) /

A dilemma for social media giants

Social media providers like Twitter and Facebook have until next April to implement the law, delete "criminal" content and disclose the data of users who post it. T24 sees the companies in a dilemma:

“If they don't comply with the regulations, they will face fines, increasing advertising bans and bandwidth reductions if the AKP wins. In other words, they won't be able to make money on the Turkish market. If they comply with the regulations, however, they will face other problems. Not only will they set a precedent for making concessions to governments but they also risk losing the trust of their users in Turkey and eventually all over the world.”