Security Directorate General's directive on censorship of citizen journalism: Audiovisual recording of protests banned

A "censorship" directive has been issued by Security Directorate General banning all kinds of audiovisual recording by citizens during protests. The directive proposes legal action against those w...

Media Freedom 30.04.2021 - 11:46 31.08.2021 - 20:14

A "censorship" directive has been issued by Security Directorate General banning all kinds of audiovisual recording by citizens during protests. The directive proposes legal action against those who record audio or video of any social event.

#dokuz8/Gürkan Özturan

The directive was published with the signature of Mehmet Aktaş banning audiovisual recording of protests and social events and proposes legal action against those who violate the ban.

"BREACH OF PRIVACY"

The published directive claims that the police officers conducting their duties being filmed on camera would violate their privacy as this would also prevent the police from fulfilling their duties. In the directive it is stated "we have notified all our personnel regarding when our personnel is conducting their duties these kind of audiovisual recording would prevent them from fulfilling their duties and this must not be permitted; they should prevent those taking recordings of the protest or action, when the legal conditions are right they must take necessary legal steps to proceed further in legal action."

BANNING CITIZEN JOURNALISM

The directive actively bans citizen journalism that has gained popularity in the last decade primarily through Occupy Gezi Park Protests of 2013 and presented an alternative to the mainstream media that has been actively omitting the news concerning the citizens' street agenda.

SCREENING TORTURE

Contemporary Lawyers Association CHD's Istanbul Branch reacted against the censorship directive: "This directive aims to issue a guarantee for the Ministry of Interior's personnel ahead of May 1 International Workers' Day. If your personnel is recorded while torturing someone, this would be presented as evidence. Once again, your duty is not to torture, it is a crime!" CHD's Ankara Branch also reminded to citizens "we would like to remind you that if you see a crime being committed you can take audiovisual recording as evidence."

Had this directive been in place, the people would have been unable to learn about the police intervention against May 1 observation in İzmir as an officer kneed on a protestor's neck preventing him from breathing.

The scene reminded thousands of people of the murder of George Floyd in the US by a police officer in a similar action.

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