Turkey: adoption of a law reinforcing the monitoring of social networks

Turquie: adoption d’une loi renforçant le contrôle des réseaux sociaux

Ankara | The Turkish Parliament adopted Wednesday a bill that expands the control of the authorities on social networks, a controversial bill that has raised concerns among defenders of freedom of expression.

This law requires including the major social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to have a representative in Turkey and to obey the instructions of Turkish courts requesting the removal of certain content, under penalty of a heavy fine.

According to the Party of justice and development (AKP, the islamic-conservative), the formation of the president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, this law aims to put an end to such insults online.

In early July, the Turkish president had called to “put order” in social networks after that his daughter and son-in-law have been referred to by name-calling on Twitter.

But this text raises the concern of many internet users and NGOS who accuse Mr Erdogan of seeking to muzzle the social networks, one of the few spaces where critical voices dare to still be heard in Turkey.

“The social networks are of paramount importance for many people who use it to inform. This law announces a dark period of censorship online, ” estimated to Human Rights Watch on Monday.

Twitter and Facebook are already closely monitored by the Turkish authorities and many lawsuits for “insulting the head of State” or “terrorist propaganda” based on only one or a few tweets.

The NGOS are concerned about the erosion of freedom of expression in Turkey and increased control of social networks could also limit the access of Turks to independent information, or critical, in a landscape dominated by the pro-government media.

According to the latest “report on transparency” of Twitter, Turkey was, in the first half of 2019, the head of the country asking for the removal of content on Twitter with more than 6 000 applications.

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