Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has argued that unregulated social media “threatens” the democracy, social peace and national security of states.
“Social media channels, where there is no inspection, have come to a point to threaten the democracy, social peace, and national security of states,” Erdoğan said in a video message to the Turkic Council Media Forum held in Istanbul on Oct. 22.
Arguing that the world has been suffering from the "devastating effect of digital fascism,” he said: "Like other strategic issues, we have to take matters regarding media and communication into our own hands.”
“With the spread of social media, we are often exposed to disinformation campaigns, together with the whole humanity. Due to news full of lies and manipulations, the lives of millions of defenseless people in the world are darkening; serious traumas and dramas are being experienced,” he said
Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party is preparing a draft law covering what it says "false news" and "disinformation" online.
Details of the proposal have not been shared publicly, but various reports say that it foresees the establishment of a Social Media Directorate within the government to monitor online comments.
The upcoming legislation reportedly seeks up to five years in prison for a social media user over charges of “fakes news and disinformation.”
The draft also reportedly proposes establishing a body similar to the media regulator Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK).
The relevant draft legislation is the second concerning social media that has come out of the ruling AKP government in the past few years, with the other forcing social media platforms to establish offices in Turkey.