Journalists condemn Turkey’s ‘disinformation’ bill
Erdogan's ruling AKP party is facing a historically low approval rating ahead of the upcoming elections
By News Desk - October 05 2022

(Photo Credit: AFP)

Journalists and press organizations have condemned a bill to counter “disinformation” in Turkey, arguing it will threaten freedom of expression.

The bill was presented to parliament on Tuesday, 4 October, and could see offenders locked up for three years if they are charged with spreading “disinformation.”

The bill introduced by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) would not only affect journalists but social media users as well. It would require social media companies to hand over information on users if suspected of “propagating misleading information.”

A protest joined by 10 journalist organizations in front of the parliament in Ankara said on Tuesday that “we, the journalists, are warning both the lawmakers and the public once again as part of our responsibility to society.”

“If this law is implemented in its current form, the freedom of press, expression, and communication in our country will be brought under great pressure and siege,” the statement added.

The journalists were joined by opposition lawmakers wearing black masks who also expressed their opposition to the bill, at a time when the ruling AKP party has its lowest approval ratings.

If charged under the law, journalists would not only spend three years in prison but also lose access to their press credentials.

The AKP and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) hold the majority in parliament and can therefore pass laws without real opposition.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks Turkey the 154th out of 180 countries when it comes to freedom of the press.

According to the organization, Turkey has imprisoned 200 journalists in the past five years, while 48 journalists spent at least one day in police custody in 2020.

Meanwhile, the organization also reports the forced closure of 160 media outlets, since the country adopted state of emergency measures after the failed coup in 2016.


Most Popular