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Turkey passes a controversial law on social media

Image Credit: Nick Ansell/PA

On Wednesday, Turkey’s Parliament passed a law regulating social media. President Tayyip Erodgan and his ruling party, AK Parti, backs the law. It was discussed on Tuesday, and its approval was announced on Twitter. Critics believe that this new law, allows Turkey to control what is reported and shared on social media, allowing increased censorship and silencing dissent.

The law requires all foreign social media websites ( to have Turkish appointed representatives, who their job is to deal with complaints about the content on the websites. If any of the social media websites refuse to appoint a Turkish representative, the authorities will impose huge fines, reduce bandwidth in a manner that renders the social media website unusable, and advertising bans.

Turkish authorities will also impose penalties on those websites that do not remove or block content within 24 hours of being informed. This new law requires user data from all of the social media websites to be stored in Turkey.

Before the vote on the law, a spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said that this new law, ‘would give the state powerful tools for asserting even more control over the media landscape.’

For several years, President Erdogan has criticized social media on what he considers as ‘immoral acts’. he believes the lack of regulations led to the ‘immoral acts.’ Turkey has the world’s highest rate of journalists in prison. Many of these journalists were imprisoned in the failed coup of 2016.

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