CHP vows to take social media law to high court

CHP vows to take social media law to high court

CHP vows to take social media law to high court

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will take the new digital disinformation act to the Constitutional Court seeking annulment if it is approved in parliament, the CHP leader has said, describing the bill as “an attempt to censor online media.”

“We will try to intervene [to stop the bill] at parliament. Then, we will take it to the Constitutional Court to annul it,” CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said in an address to his parliamentary group on June 21.

“We will explain in detail that this bill is against our constitution, violates the principles of freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” he said, recalling that the Turkish Constitution says “The press is free and cannot be censored.”

Kılıçdaroğlu referred to a bill being discussed in parliament against digital disinformation that stipulates a prison sentence of up to three years against those who knowingly disseminate misleading information via social media. The government defends the bill as a tool to protect the freedom of the press against manipulators and speculators.

“There cannot be democracy without free media. Freedom of media is essential for healthy governments,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, vowing to take all the necessary measures for the freedom of expression when they come to power. “We want a Türkiye enjoying democracy and freedom of expression,” he stated.

The 40-article draft bill jointly prepared by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has been approved by a parliamentary panel but still needs a majority vote at the General Assembly.

Article 29 of the draft aims to fight against disinformation and add the crime of publicly disseminating misleading information to the people to the penal code. According to the article, “Anyone who publicly disseminates false information regarding the internal and external security, public order and general health of the country, in a way that is suitable for disturbing the public peace, with the sole motive of creating anxiety, fear or panic among the people, will be sentenced to imprisonment from one year to three years.”

The opposition parties and press associations have opposed the bill on the ground it can restrict media freedom.

Turkey, law, Politics,