A law was been passed by the Turkey government recently that lets the government store user data found in their social media accounts. What’s the motive behind this move? What do the critics have to say?
Crux of the Matter
The Turkish lawmakers passed legislation on 29th July that gives them the authority to regulate social media content. This has raised concerns about the country falling under greater governmental control, as social media was one of the few places for free public debate in Turkey. Starting from Oct. 1, it requires social media companies to store user data in the nation’s internal servers itself.
What Does The Bill State?
It orders popular social giants like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to open offices in Turkey and impose strict rules.
These offices would be responsible for meeting the demands of both the individuals and government. They can block content hosted on their platforms that is deemed inappropriate.
What If They Don’t Obey?
The dire consequences of disobeying the law would be slowing the bandwidth of the sites and making them mostly inaccessible. Moreover, the company offices would have 48 hours to comply and the fine for being late would be $700,000+.
Experts’ Take On Why It Was Passed
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and governing A.K.P. party behind the legislation cited that this move was needed to “protect citizens from cybercrime.”
Critics say that things took a personal turn when the president’s family was being targeted in social media criticism. Many reporters have been jailed to date, and many have left the country in fear.
As it is offline, conventional media houses are under the scanner of the Turkish government, with 90% of them being controlled by businesses close to the government. Now, this law would be the start of an online censorship regime.
History Of Its “Online Mess”
- In 2016 before an attempted coup, Turkey had seen an online battle of the government loyals and the general public.
- In 2017 Wikipedia was banned there, till it was lifted this year.
- In 2019, streaming services like Netflix were targeted, with entertainment programs being rigorously censored. The series “If Only” was even cancelled as a result, because it was based on a gay character.
- A Black and White photo challenge is a recent social media trend which has started from Turkey, where the campaign is associated with raising awareness about femicide in the country. It is so because, b&w photos of murdered women are shown in the country’s media.
- The Justice and Development Party, abbreviated officially AK Parti in Turkish, is a conservative political party in Turkey. The current party leader is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the incumbent President of Turkey.
- Yeşilçam is the sobriquet that refers to Turkish film art and industry. The first Turkish-made film was a documentary entitled Ayastefanos’taki Rus Abidesinin Yıkılışı (Demolition of the Russian Monument at San Stefano), directed by Fuat Uzkınay and completed in 1914.