Turkey Passes Law That Imposes Censorship On Social Media Platforms Which Erdogan Says Should Be 'Removed Or Controlled'

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Turkey Passes Law That Imposes Censorship On Social Media Platforms Which Erdogan Says Should Be 'Removed Or Controlled'

The Turkish parliament has passed a new law imposing strict regulations on social media platforms, which critics claim will impose censorship and further diminish democracy in the country. The law was passed last Wednesday and allows Turkish arbitrators to censor content on major social media companies operating in Turkey with over 1 million users, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.


Companies that fail to allow content to be censored could be hit with tools that restrict access and be hit with substantial fines.


The bill was supported by the Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) but opposed by all other political parties in the Turkish parliament.


A worry for opposition groups is the fact that the new legislation will also allow for the storing of user data on these platforms, meaning that individuals will no longer be able to post anonymously online. Turkey currently has more journalists imprisoned than any other country in the world and the internet is one of the few remaining spaces where non-state backed voices can be heard, particularly after the forced closure of opposition newspapers.


Just last week, Netflix was required to remove a Turkish show on its streaming service for showing a gay character. This is the fourth such show the provider has removed on the behest of the state. Likewise, Wikipedia was banned from 2017 until January of this year in Turkey.
Erdogan has made absolutely no moves to hide his disdain of social media and the potential for it to be used as a tool by the democratic opposition. He said in a televised speech on July 1st that:


"Those spaces where lies, defamation, attack to personal rights, character assassinations are running wild, should be put in order. We want such social media spaces to be entirely removed, to be controlled."


A slew of critics both inside and outside of Turkey have slammed the new legislation, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.


Quinn McKew, executive director of Article 19 -a free speech advocacy group, stated:


"Social media companies face either becoming the long arm of the state censorship or having access to their platforms slowed so much that they are in effect blocked in Turkey. Given the erosion of the rule of law in Turkey under the current government, tech companies cannot rely on the courts to challenge blocking decisions or requests for user data."


While Tom Porteous of Human Rights Watch added,
"The new law will enable the government to control social media, to get content removed at will and to arbitrarily target individual users. Social media is a lifeline for many people who use it to access news, so this law signals a new dark era of online censorship."


With opposition on the ground so crushed by Erdogan's state and his increasing dictatorial powers, the ending of freedom on the internet will be extremely worrying to those who wish to speak out freely about their own government.

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Thinking Humanity: Turkey Passes Law That Imposes Censorship On Social Media Platforms Which Erdogan Says Should Be 'Removed Or Controlled'
Turkey Passes Law That Imposes Censorship On Social Media Platforms Which Erdogan Says Should Be 'Removed Or Controlled'
The Turkish parliament has passed a new law imposing strict regulations on social media platforms, which critics claim will impose censorship and further diminish democracy in the country. The law was passed last Wednesday and allows Turkish arbitrators to censor content on major social media companies operating in Turkey with over 1 million users, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Companies that fail to allow content to be censored could be hit with tools that restrict access and be hit with substantial fines.
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