28.07.2020 Our opinion regarding the draft Social Media Law which has been submitted to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey
“In conclusion, the amendment proposal comprises many excessive regulations which may create adverse effects on freedom of expression and the right to receive information, and also regulations which are in contravention of fundamental rights. Should the proposal become law in its current form, social media platforms which do not open representative agencies in Turkey would be entirely inaccessible, while any that did open representative agencies in Turkey would thus give rise to self-censorship by creating an environment in which individuals would become suspicious with respect to their own privacy and security, and there would therefore be no channel available through which relatively different opinions could be freely communicated to the relevant persons. However, a discussion environment which allows freedom of expression and free statements constitutes the fundamental operating mechanism of modern democracies. In the “Information Age” experienced in the 21st century, our opinions and democracy have been digitized as have our whole lives. It is necessary to understand the full breadth of opinions and to include them in the decision-making mechanism instead of restricting them. This amendment proposal, which is known as the “Censorship Law” in the public opinion, should not become law in its current form. Even in a case where there is a genuine necessity to require the cooperation of social network providers in identifying individual users, regulations should be drafted which are aimed only at this necessity and whose scope is no wider than that outlined in our recommendations. The stakeholders in this subject matter should meet and conduct discussions with regard to this proposal and an environment of joint consideration concerning the problems and solutions should be created. All kinds of laws which would “censor” the internet and any legislation in which the relevant discussion environment is not ensured would harm our democracy. Despite the fact that, unfortunately, both of these harms are encountered more frequently in our country, we hope that this proposal will be withdrawn, as the proposal which had been submitted within the scope of the Draft Omnibus Law was in March of this year, and we expect that a new proposal will be presented which is limited to the necessities and that is drafted in a proportionate and more appropriate manner .
We would like to state that we consider the pursuit of the agenda contained within the current amendment proposal useless and a waste of energy on the part of our country in these critical days, when we should focus on the medical problems related to Covid-19; the fight against the problems which are caused in our economy and social life by the strict measures and restrictions applied in our country and the world; and the protection of businesses, restraining the extraordinary increases in the unemployment figures; the support of those who are currently unemployed and lacking income; and the turning of the wheels of the economy.”
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