Turkish MPs, journalists protest ‘disinformation law’ in parliament, wear black masks

Main opposition CHP lawmakers and journalists have held banners and wore black masks at the parliament’s General Assembly in protest of a draft law which they say will further restrict freedom of expression online and on social media.

Duvar English

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmakers and journalists on Oct. 4 protested at the parliament a bill seeking up to three years in jail for those spreading so-called "disinformation" on the internet.

The CHP lawmakers held banners reading ‘No to censorship law,” “We want freedom of press and speech,” “The unconstitutional law should be withdrawn” and “’Fake news,’ but according to what and whom?” while the journalists seated at the press lodge wore black masks.

The ruling coalition of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on May 26 submitted to parliament the long-awaited bill that criminalizes so-called “disinformation” spread online. One of the most controversial articles of the bill is Article 29 which talks about the “struggle against disinformation."

“If a person spreads false information with regards to the country's domestic and external security, public order and general health in a way that that is suitable to disrupt the public peace, with the purpose of creating concern, fear or panic among the people, they will be sentenced to between one and three years,” the relevant article reads.

If the draft law passes the parliament, online news outlets will be required to remove “false” content, and the government may block access to their websites more easily.