Turkey’s social media regulation bill and online censorship

By Toby Tunwase

Turkey is a state known for rigid laws and strict regulations. In an attempt to gain more control over the digital activities of its citizens, the Turkish parliament passed a law regulating the use and conduct of social media. The law is said to give the authorities the ability to silent dissents and increase censorship.

According to President Tayyip Erdogan, the ruling AK Party had the majority backing along with the backing of the allied nationalist party. The debate for the new legislation began in the assembly. The passage of the law was later announced by the parliament on Twitter.

The law now makes it mandatory for foreign social media websites to appoint Turk-based representatives to address the concerns of the authorities over its contents. It also includes deadlines for the removal of material that it might object to.

Image courtesy of trtworld.com

Under the new regulations, a lot of companies could face huge fines, get their Ads blocked, or have bandwidths slashed by almost 90%. This would essentially block access to their sites. So if you are thinking about starting a digital media company in Turkey, you might want to take a pause on that.

In the last decade, the majority of the Turkish major media has become state-controlled. Turks only have social media and other minor online news outlets to air their voices and publish independent news. With the high level of digital media policing, it is quite common to see many Turks being charged with libel or insulting Erdogan or other political office holders.