The Turkish parliament has passed a controversial law that will allow the government more control over social media. Giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube from now on must have a local contact who will supervise the contents and decide on their possible removal according to the rules in force in Turkey. The law was proposed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party, Akp. and his ally, the nationalist Mhp, who have a majority.
The new law passed by the Turkish parliament specifically targets social networks that have over 1 million unique visitors per day. Among other things, it expects servers that contain Turkish user data to be kept in Turkey. Human rights groups fear that the measure will give another blow to freedom of expression with thousands of people already accused of "insulting President Erdogan on social media. They also fear that greater control of Ankara on large networks such as Facebook and Twitter could prevent access to independent or critical information in a country where the main media are in the hands of the state or entrepreneurs close to the government. For Human Rights Watch the new law is the expression of "a new Middle Ages of the online censorship. "
The new Turkish social media law "will strengthen the government's ability to censor content and prosecute internet users." Amnesty International said so about the text approved at dawn by the Ankara Parliament. "It is a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression online," says Andrew Gardner, an NGO researcher on Turkey.
"It is the latest and perhaps the most brazen attack on free expression in Turkey. Journalists already spend years behind bars for their critical news and social media users must self-censure in fear of offending the authorities," continues Amnesty, according to which the rule "violates human rights and international standards". Human Rights Watch has also raised the alarm on the new regulation. "Social media - said the NGO - are of crucial importance for many people who use them to get informed. This law announces a dark period of online censorship".