- Turkey passes the law where the social media sites will have to appoint Turkish representatives
- President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party had backed the bill
- Turks are already heavily policed on social media
The parliament of Turkey has passed a law which will regulate the social media content, on Wednesday, the critics have said that it will further increase the censorship and help authorities silence dissent.
The AK Party which is in power in Turkey with its ally nationalist party has backed the bill. The assembly began debating the new legislation on Tuesday and its passage was announced by the parliament on Twitter.
This law will now require all the foreign social media websites to appoint a Turkish representative to address authorities’ concern over the content and includes deadlines for the removal of material they have taken exception to.
Under the new regulations, the companies could face fines, blocking of advertisements or even have their bandwidth cut by a maximum of 90% which will basically block the access.
The majority of mainstream media in Turkey is under the control of the government since the past decade, the Turks have taken it to social media and smaller online news platforms for key voices and the independent news.
A report says, “Turks are already heavily policed on social media and many have been charged with insulting Erdogan or his ministers, or criticism related to foreign military incursions and the handling of the novel coronavirus.”
A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, ahead of the passing of the bill, said that the draft law “would give the state powerful tools for asserting even more control over the media landscape.”
Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said that the bill will not lead to censorship but will establish commercial and legal ties with the social media platforms in the country.
In the Twitter-related court orders in the initial 6 months of 2019, Turkey was 2nd globally as per the company and the country had the most number of other legal demands from US-based microblogging platform, Twitter.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey, has repeatedly criticized social media and said that the rise of “immoral acts” over the internet in recent years was possible because of a lack of regulations.
Erdogan has repeatedly criticized social media and said a rise of “immoral acts” online in recent years was due to a lack of regulations.