Judges and the social media

Judges and the social media

Turkey is a different country than many of its western peers when it comes to its judiciary system.
Readers of this newspaper are following the war over the possession of the system in between the government and the Cemaat.

Therefore, what I will write about will most probably be unnoticed by the authorities, but I believe someone has to write about it.

After observing the cases and the court rulings over the past years, I can safely say our judges and persecutors don’t understand social media and mobile technologies. Also, they do not really look into different cases about social media in order to learn from them. Furthermore, the authorities of any kind of institution cannot get their heads around the gift of social media called the easiness of freedom of speech. If the situation doesn’t change we will see a lot of unbelievable stories in 2014 regarding social media and mobile technologies.

For example, a high school student who took a photo of his classmates who are freezing because the schools heating system malfunctioned and put it on a website received a three day suspension. A graphic artist who was working for Bursa metropolitan municipality got fired without any compensation after he commented negatively about Prime Minister Erdoğan. Anakara mayor Melih Gökçek filed a suit against a high school kid for a negative comment on Twitter and forced the police to take the kid into custody while he was at school during class. In a school at Beylikdüzü, Ministerial Detectives are gathering information against two school teachers based on their social media updates. It is clear the detectives will force the teachers to quit.

In a recent divorce case, the court dismissed photos from a Facebook page that the husband provided as evidence, saying acquiring photos from Facebook pages is unlawful and cannot be submitted as evidence. However, the famous cases Sledgehammer and Ergenekon had many photos and information acquired from Facebook and it wasn’t a problem back then.

In 2013, people learned to use social media and they learned it very well thanks to the government’s oppression. In 2014, social media will be used even more effectively, as it is the only remaining outlet where the truth has a chance to reach the masses. Whether it be about a malfunctioning heating system of a public school or any other information that the public authorities do not want to be disseminated.

So I beg our judges and persecutors to learn and know about social media and respect freedom of speech. Social media is not any different than the old media, as the virtual world is not any different than the real one. If someone breaks the law, judge him, but do not try to break people’s backs just because you can in order to shut them up; learn that it will only backfire.