29 Jul 2020 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 27 Jul 2020 n° 89/2020 Turkey

Turkey Proposes Social Media Law, Threatening Press Freedom

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner CPJ Article 19 AEJ IPI RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ Article 19 AEJ IPI RSF
On 21 July 2020, the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) proposed the draft law to strengthen state control of social media platforms, as well as data about those who use them in Turkey to the Turkish parliament.

The draft said it would require social media companies with more than one million users in Turkey to store those users’ data in the country, and open offices staffed with local representatives. The text has yet to be reviewed in parliament, and the timeline for a vote on the bill is unclear.

According to the draft, the companies will be required to remove content that violates “personal rights” and the “privacy of personal life” from their sites within 48 hours of receiving a court order. Search engines could also be required to remove links to such content. Companies that fail to comply may face court-ordered penalties, including fines of up to 30 million Turkish lira (3.7 million euros), or traffic to their platforms slowed or blocked by the Turkish internet providers.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in early July that social media platforms “need to be brought into order”. “Such platforms don’t suit this country and our people. That’s why we want [them] completely shut or controlled after bringing the issue to our parliament,” he said.

Turkey already exploits legal processes to remove journalism from social media. Recent transparency reports from Twitter and Reddit show that Turkish officials issued the companies with more requests to remove content than any other country.
Updates
29 Jul 2020
On 29 July 2020, the Turkish Parliament passed the law that will give authorities more powers to control social media content. The legislation requires social media companies to have their representatives in Turkey and to remove, within 24 hours, content found unacceptable. Failure to do so will be punished with large fines, advertising bans or bandwidth restrictions. The law also requires social media users' data to be stored in Turkey.
Follow-ups
28 Jul 2020
CoE Commissioner for Human Rights considers that "the amendments proposed to the Internet legislation in Turkey will make a legal framework that is already incompatible with CoE standards much worse"
27 Jul 2020
General rapporteur on media freedom seriously concerned by the new social media bill in Turkey
Open in a new window show-link