New disinformation law will be soon announced, Turkish official says

The new disinformation law to protect public order, personal rights and freedoms will soon be shared with the public, with work on the draft still ongoing, Chair of the Digital Platforms Commission in Parliament and Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) Hatay deputy Hüseyin Yayman said Saturday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Yayman underlined that digital networks are not only high on the agenda of Turkey but also the world.

Giving the example of the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, Yayman said: “A period called the era of hybrid wars has started. For example, the massacre in Bucha: The Russian side says, ‘Ukrainians did this,’ the Ukrainian side says, ‘Russians did this.’ In fact, we clearly see that disinformation is being used even in war. Our concern is to eliminate or minimize this disinformation, fake news, both in daily life, in public order, in social life and in the state-citizen relationship.”

“We, as the Turkish Grand National Assembly, have a work to fight disinformation, which is on the agenda of all parties, from the AK Party to the CHP (Republican People’s Party), from the MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) to the Good Party (İP). Although there are differences between the opposition and other parties regarding the content of this study, everyone is concerned about disinformation. There is a demand to answer hate crimes committed over digital networks, racism, fascism, cyber-fascism, adolescent bullying and ensuring data privacy. But there are differences in method,” he continued to say.

He further underlined that this work is not a regulation on social media but rather a regulation on disinformation.

“Blocking or restricting social media can never be the case. We aim to establish a law similar to the disinformation and anti-fake news law in Germany, the anti-disinformation law in France and the legal regulation on the fight against disinformation in the United States. Our bill will soon be put up for discussion and presented to the public agenda. We, as the government, consider the issue of disinformation as a supra-partisan, supra-political issue,” Yayman elaborated.

Reiterating that Turkey has demanded social media platforms to appoint representatives to the country, Yayman said that these representatives similarly complained about disinformation and urged for regulations on the problem.

“With the opening of representative offices and the Disinformation Law, we want to prevent disinformation, we want real people to come in sight and prevent the rapid spread of fake news. We continue to work on a Disinformation Law to protect both public order and personal rights and freedoms. In the near future, I hope there will be good developments in this matter,” he added.

Yayman had in September announced that all social media providers, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Amazon, have opened representative offices in Turkey.

As efforts to develop a legal framework gain pace, Turkey is also planning to open a social media directorate within the scope of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK).

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