Several journalists associations and unions on Tuesday denounced a draft law criminalizing “disinformation” as an attempt at censorship by the government in Turkey, while parliament is expected to start examining the text on Tuesday (October 4th).

Journalists in Turkey denounce disinformation

“No to the censorship law”, “Free press is a condition for democracy” could be read on the signs held by a few dozen journalists wearing black masks to protest against the bill and who gathered Tuesday in front of the Turkish parliament in Turkey (Ankara).

“If this bill is passed as is, freedom of the press and expression will be under siege in Turkey,” said Kemal Aktas, president of parliament reporters during the demonstration. The text provides for punishing the “spreading of misleading information in Turkey” by one to three years in prison and depriving journalists found guilty of this offense of their press cards.

Tabled in parliament by the deputies of the ruling party (AKP) at the end of May, the text was adopted in September by two parliamentary committees.

The opposition tried in vain to oppose it, but with a majority of 334 seats out of 581 in parliament for the AKP and its allies, the text is not likely to be rejected.

One year before the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for June 2023, the Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to exercise more control over the press and social networks, observers believe.

NGOs regularly denounce the erosion of press freedom in Turkey, which ranks 149th out of 180 in the 2022 press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).



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