Turkey: Draconian social media law poses grave threat to freedom of expression

As MPs in Turkey prepare to vote on a far-reaching law that would require social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to comply with draconian conditions or face bandwidth squeeze, exorbitant fines or even prosecution, Amnesty International’s Turkey Researcher, Andrew Gardner, said:

“Today’s vote is the latest, and perhaps most brazen attack on free expression in Turkey. Journalists already spend years behind bars for their critical reporting and social media users have to police themselves in fear of offending the authorities.

If passed, these amendments would significantly increase the government’s powers to censor online content and prosecute social media users
Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International

“If passed, these amendments would significantly increase the government’s powers to censor online content and prosecute social media users. This is a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression online and contravenes international human rights law and standards."

BACKGROUND

The proposed amendments to the Internet Law significantly increase the reach of the government to police and censor content online, exacerbating risks to those who are already ruthlessly targeted by the authorities simply for expressing dissenting opinions. Independent media have in addition been all but extinguished after years of government-enforced closures of media outlets, unfounded prosecution of journalists and other forms of intimidation.