'Censorship Bill' targets online news portals in Turkey

Government's far right ally Nationalist Movement Party MHP filed a draft bill consisting of 9 clauses to the Turkey's Grand National Assembly with the title, "legal framework for internet news por...

Media Freedom 10.03.2021 - 13:01 27.08.2021 - 12:22

Government's far right ally Nationalist Movement Party MHP filed a draft bill consisting of 9 clauses to the Turkey's Grand National Assembly with the title, "legal framework for internet news portals" accusing the digital news landscape of 'pirate publications'.

#dokuz8/Gürkan Özturan

According to MHP's proposal, the news portals operating online will be required to register and comply fully with the necessities of the draft bill and if they fail to do so, they would be shut down by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority. The news article published by Demirören News Agency cites the statement by MHP Kırıkkale deputy Halil Öztürk where he says, "digital news sphere is growing rapidly and there is widespread online news coverage. As it is widely known, a large number of online news portals are founded for perception-manipulation, reputation-assasination or to support terrorist organizations and they conduct pirate-publications. We do know that these are not registered publications. Hence we witness incidents where some groups 'found' online news portals to assassinate people's reputation, propagate terrorism to support terrorist activities and spread their message and conduct perception operations. In order to prevent all this, we have drafted a law proposal, to end unregistered pirate news publication in Turkey and handed it over to the Parliamentary Speaker's Office."

"SHUT DOWN THE NEWS PORTALS IN 6 MONTHS TIME"

Öztürk stated that all news portals must be registered with the authorities, "in our draft proposal, we want publications to be under jurisdiction of Chief Public Prosecutor just like the print and visual media, and for them to be held accountable for their actions similarly. We want them to be covered in taxation regarding the advertisements they receive under digital taxes system. And we also propose them to present someone as institutional collocutor to respond to character assassinations, for people to correct the statements about themselves. Instead of all this, if the platforms continue their pirate publications, we propose Information and Communication Technologies Authority to shut down the digital news portals that do not comply with the requirements in six months time."

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