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Human RightsErdogan: Slander on social media equals ‘terrorist attack’

Erdogan: Slander on social media equals ‘terrorist attack’

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Some “smear campaigns” on social media are tantamount to a “terrorist attack”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today, after a law came into force days ago that provides jail time for spreading what the authorities consider to be fake news. DPA, quoted by BTA.

Campaigns of lies and slander, which are directed against the interests of our country, against the values ​​of our nation, against privacy, are a kind of terrorist attack, Erdogan told members of his ruling party in Ankara.

The new media law, passed by parliament last week, imposes a penalty of up to three years in prison for spreading “false information” about the country’s security and public order.

Opposition parties and human rights groups have warned that it will lead to increased censorship and the silencing of dissent ahead of key parliamentary elections next year.

The prison sentence can be increased by another year and a half if the information is distributed through anonymous accounts or as part of a banned group.

Social media has become a source of “slander, threats, blackmail and dangers” against individuals and institutions, Erdogan said, adding that the law was “urgently needed” to fight “disinformation”. European countries, as well as the United States, are also imposing similar measures, the Turkish leader claimed.

Yesterday, the main opposition party – the People’s Republican Party – asked the Constitutional Court to suspend the most criticized Article 29 of the law, which determines the penalty of imprisonment.

The new law tightens Erdogan’s grip on the internet, one of the last remaining areas where his 20-year rule has not had full control, DPA notes. It also obliges social media companies, such as Twitter, to share user data with authorities. Otherwise, they will be fined or blocked.

The organization “Reporters Without Borders” ranked Turkey in 149th place out of a total of 180 countries in terms of press freedom, reminds DPA.

Photo: AR/BTA

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