A draft legislation that seeks to criminalize the spread of what the government calls “disinformation” on internet, is moving toward a vote in the Turkish parliament. The bill has been approved by the Justice Commission of the parliament and will be brought to the agenda of the General Assembly for a vote.
Prof. Yaman Akdeniz, a prominent academic and cyber-rights expert, said that the new law will make it further easier for the government to put its critics on trial and will create a “climate of fear” ahead of the 2023 elections.
“It will pass the parliament in an instance; whatever the opposition says nothing will change. The moment these amendments are legalized, they will turn into one of the most important weapons of the [ruling Justice and Development Party] AKP before the 2023 elections and the new amendments will create a ‘climate of fear.’ I can even be prosecuted [with the new law] for writing this. One does not need to be a legal expert to realize this,” Akdeniz said on social media.
“Hundreds of people will stand trial on the crime of ‘spreading information misguiding the public.’ Those that show their reaction to these trials by saying ‘This is too much’ will also be prosecuted,” he said.
“The arrow has already left the bow. The target [of the government] is freedom of expression and media. Sixteen Kurdish journalists, who were under detention for the last eight days, were arrested last night. This is the situation. We will never stay silent,” he further said.
The ruling coalition of the AKP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on May 26 submitted to parliament the long-awaited bill that demands up to three years in jail for those spreading so-called “disinformation” on internet.
One of the most controversial articles of the bill is Article 29 which talks about the “struggle against disinformation.” If the draft law passes the parliament, online news outlets will also be required to remove “false” content, and the government may block access to their websites more easily.
Inmate denied Demirtaş bookmark on grounds of ‘threat to prison security’
A prison in Turkey has deemed a bookmark bearing the name of renowned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş as “terrorist propaganda” and a “threat to prison security,” thereby refusing to deliver it to an inmate.
A prison in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri has refused to deliver a bookmark to an inmate on the grounds that jailed Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş’s name was written on it.
The prison administration argued that the bookmark sent to Metin Karadoğan, jailed in Kayseri Bünyan No. 2 T Type Closed Prison, was serving as a means to make “terrorist propaganda” and was a “threat to prison security,” Mezopotamya News Agency reported on June 14.
The prison administration said that the use of bookmarks is not against the law unless they “make the ideological propaganda of the terrorist organization.” “It is seen that the purpose of using the bookmark [in question] is to indirectly carry out the propaganda of the terrorist organization. It was not deemed appropriate to give the bookmark [to the inmate],” the prison administration said.
The inmate Karadoğan then took the issue to the court. In his petition, Karadoğan stated that Demirtaş ran for the 2018 presidential elections from jail, he has four published books and the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR) had previously sentenced Turkey to pay compensation to the renowned politician.
However, the court rejected Karadoğan’s appeal, arguing that a bookmark that bears the name of Demirtaş has the potential of triggering “negative events in the prison as there might be supporters or opponents of him.” These events that may occur may endanger the security of the prison,” the court said, ruling in favor of the prison administration’s decision.
Karadoğan lastly filed an individual petition with Turkey’s Constitutional Court.
Demirtaş has been in prison since 2016. He faces hundreds of years in prison on charges related to the Kurdistan Workes’ Party (PKK), despite a previous ECHR ruling that he was imprisoned on political grounds and should be released immediately.
⚡️The German government is fighting against freedom of speech. I am a free journalist who covers the special operation in Ukraine. They are going to sentence me now to 3 YEARS IN PRISON for telling the truth⚡️
According to current German law, it is only allowed to publish one-sided information that benefits the authorities. Anything that goes against this unwritten law is punished by the biased judicial machine.
But: The independent blogging community is ready to resist censorship in the West.