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Erdogan to take control of social media ending free speach

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Erdogan to take control of social media ending free speach

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:15 am

Turkey tightens grasp on social media

Turkish parliament ratified a contentious bill on Wednesday which grants the government greater control over social media platforms and content. The move has been criticized by opposition parties and rights groups, accusing the government of further silencing free speech

The new law allows for the government’s regulation of social media platforms, compelling companies to appoint Turkish-national representatives to respond to the country’s concerns over content on the platforms. That which is deemed “offensive” by Ankara must be removed within 48 hours. Otherwise, the company can be fined up to nearly $1.5 million, reported Duvar news outlet.

The law was pushed for by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) who make up the majority of the legislature. It was debated by parliamentarians on Tuesday and passed on Wednesday, despite pushback from the opposition.

Under the new piece of legislation, companies are to provide Turkey’s Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) statistics from user data by the companies.

The law is set to take effect on October 1.

The effort to tighten government control over the platforms accelerated in late June after insulting comments were made in response to a tweet in which Turkish finance minister Berat Albayrak, who is also President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law, shared news that he and his wife, Esra, had welcomed their fourth baby.

“Do you understand why we oppose Youtube, Twitter, Netflix and other social media platforms? It is to get rid of immoral actions,” said Erdogan, adding that “It is imperative that these channels are brought under control.”

“The main issue we need to focus on is how media, especially social media platforms, have become the means of such rottenness … These sorts of platforms are not convenient for our nation and country. For this reason, we will take them to the parliament as soon as possible in order to completely remove and control such social media platforms.”

Erdogan’s comments were criticized by many, including opposition leaders - some of whom sarcastically asked the President to postpone the shutdown of Netflix until the completion of their favorite TV-series.

Ahead of the passage of the bill, Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned that the bill would give new powers to Ankara to increase social media censorship “particularly in light of the country’s poor record on freedom of expression.”

Tom Porteous, deputy program director at HRW, also warned that, “if passed, 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.”

The Turkish government has intensified its monitoring of social media in recent years, often arbitrarily detaining and legally pursuing those who share content not in line with official narratives and policy.

Twitter announced on June 11 that it had removed 7,340 accounts linked to the AKP for “employing coordinated inauthentic activity.”

“Based on our analysis of the network’s technical indicators and account behaviors, the collection of fake and compromised accounts was being used to amplify political narratives favorable to the AK Parti [AKP], and demonstrated strong support for President Erdogan. We’re disclosing 7,340 accounts to the archive today,” reads a statement from Twitter.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeas ... y/29072020
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Erdogan to take control of social media ending free speach

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