Sharing banned content on social media to be criminalized with new bill

Sharing banned content on social media to be criminalized with new bill

Sharing banned content on social media to be criminalized with new bill

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Social media users who share content that has been subject to a legal complaint in Turkey will be punished, according an omnibus bill currently being debated in parliament, daily Radikal has reported.

The Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) will be able to decide for the removal or blocking of Internet content based on an article about the “protection of national security and public order” in the omnibus bill, and users who share such content will also be punished.

On March 20, parliament approved a key article of the contentious omnibus bill that gives power to the prime minister and other ministers to shut down websites within four hours. The approval came just six months after a similar bill was overturned by the Constitutional Court.

Parliament approved 13 more articles of the omnibus bill late March 12. A key article stipulates that ministers will have the power to order the removal or blocking of an online publication in the name of “defending the right to live, securing property, ensuring national security and public order, preventing crime, or protecting public health.”

The TİB could enforce the ministry’s request as a blanket ban of the website if deemed necessary, within a maximum four hours.

The TİB would then submit the decision to the judge of a criminal court of peace within 24 hours for approval. The judge would have to issue a ruling within 48 hours. If no verdict is issued, the ban would automatically be revoked.

According to the law, the TİB could also file criminal complaints by applying to prosecutors regarding the content of the website. Domain or service providers would be required to submit the necessary information to help locate the suspects of the crime through a court order.

Providers that do not submit this information could be given fines amounting to revenue earned between 3,000 and 10,000 days. Providers that do not enforce a decision to block or remove content, on the other hand, would have to pay an administrative fine from 50,000 to 500,000 liras. Authorities would also be able to revoke their provider licenses in Turkey.