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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s disdain for social media is no secret. He blocks Twitter regularly in order to prevent the spread of information he doesn’t like. He has openly railed against Facebook and YouTube, accusing them of misrepresenting Turkish family values. And after the Gezi Park protests of 2013, he vowed to control social media. Finally, in July, he made good on his promise when parliament passed a bill that further chokes free speech in Turkey.
The new law, which goes into effect at the beginning of October, was passed only 16 hours after it came before parliament and is aimed at the only public domain of free speech left in Turkey: the internet.
Modelled after Germany’s Network Enforcement Act to combat hate speech, the Turkish law proposes to regulate social media by giving authorities even more power. The law stipulates that all social media providers must have a representative based in Turkey, all data must be stored in Turkey and all complaints must be addressed within 48 hours. Failure to comply will incur steep fines of up to $700,000.
The Turkish government already controls 90 per cent of conventional media, so social media is now the only forum …
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