Duvar English - Reuters
Turkish police have instructed officers to prevent people filming or recording security forces on smartphones while they are on duty.
Critics of the move said the decision, circulated in a notice by Turkey's police headquarters, was unlawful and would make it more difficult to identify rights violations at demonstrations or other events where police were deployed.
The notice said personnel should not allow voice or video recording without permission "while executing their duties," because it violated personal privacy and could involve unlawfully sharing personal data.
It said action could be taken against people who record or film police.
"These violations that reach a level that prevents the execution of duty, are published from time to time on digital platforms in a way that damages the personal rights and security of our personnel or citizens," the notice said.
Lawyer Mehmet Durakoğlu, head of the Istanbul Bar Association, criticized the move, saying the issue should be addressed by legislation, not a police edict.
"It is not correct to prevent the identification of human rights violations due to personal data," he said.
"We have to make the right decision. Is it important for us to identify the violation, or do we need to consider the personal data of police?"
Police brutality is common in protests in Turkey - actions that are frequently filmed and posted on social media.
Footage taken on May Day showed a group of male officers harassing a woman who recorded brutality and threatening her.
POLİSTEN KADINA TACİZ— KRT TV (@krtkulturtv) May 1, 2021
Eylemler sırasında polisin videoya alınması yasaklandı. Bu yasağın ardından sosyal medyada polisin tehditlerini, tacizlerini içeren görüntüler tekrar gündem oldu.
🔴Polisin, kadını taciz ettiği ve 'seni var ya seni...' tehditleri sosyal medyada paylaşıldı. pic.twitter.com/eHnuH09O7z
Police also prevented journalists from their jobs by taking their cameras and smashing them. Özge Uyanık from Yol TV shared how officers took her phone and threw it on the ground.
Journalist Sultan Eylem Keleş was also subjected to a similar treatment, as police cited the circular to move her away from the area that officers were beating protesters.
1 Mayıs'ta çekim yapan gazeteci arkadaşlarımız polis tarafından engelleniyor, üyemiz Sultan Eylem Keleş'in ''Gazeteciyiz, işimizi yapıyoruz'' itirazı üzerine polisler ''Genelge talimatı var'' dedi. Tekrar ediyoruz; Emniyet'in genelgesiyle gazetecilik faaliyeti engellenemez! pic.twitter.com/pGhlK7bxs2— DİSK Basın-İş (@Disk_Basin_is) May 1, 2021