The Turkish parliament approved a controversial law on Wednesday which gives authorities greater power in regulating social media (AP). The adoption of such a law raised the concern of growing censorship on dissenting voices on social media platforms (Reuters). The law requires foreign social media sites to appoint Turkish representatives to address authorities’ concerns over content (France24). If companies refuse to abide by the law, Turkish officials may slow bandwidth to the sites to make them largely inaccessible (NYT).
Mahir Unal, Justice and Development Party deputy chairman, said, “The bill aims to protect the basic rights and freedoms of citizens and to get ahead of the disinformation” (CNN). Social media sites must also store domestic users’ information in Turkey, raising privacy concerns (Reuters). Turkish citizens are already policed on social media, with many charged with insulting Erdogan or his administration (France24). Andrew Gardner, the senior Turkish researcher for Amnesty International, said, “This is a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression online” (AP).