Turkish journalists protest disinformation bill

Turkish journalism rights groups protested a new amendment to the country’s press laws in capital Ankara, Gazete Duvar reported on Wednesday.

The so-called "disinformation" law put forward by ruling party lawmakers is expected to be discussed at the general assembly of the parliament next week.

The bill includes regulations on social media and internet journalism with a sentence of up to three years in prison for the spread of fake news or disinformation.

Turkey’s journalism organizations blasted what they called a "law of censorship".

Critics say that the bill could be used to put pressure over digital media before the upcoming elections in Turkey.

Press Council, Contemporary Journalists Association, Diplomacy Reporters Association, DİSK Journalists Union, Journalists Association, İzmir Journalists Association, Parliamentary Correspondents Association, Turkish Journalists Association, Turkish Journalists Confederation and Turkish Journalists Union gathered in capital Ankara in order to demand the withdrawal of the bill.

Numerous Turkish lawmakers and representatives of democratic mass organizations supported the journalists who protested the crackdown on press freedom.

“Do not think that we do not care about disinformation. However, the way to do this should not be through imprisonment. Newspapers in Anatolia will face the danger of being shut down,” Nazmi Bilgin, head of the Journalists' Association, said.

“This law is against fundamental human rights, freedom of communication and freedom of the press. That is unconstitutional. It is against our constitutionally guaranteed rights,”Blign added.

“We journalists want this law to be withdrawn. Long live freedom, down with censorship.”

After the press release, the journalists left their pens in front of the Atatürk Monument in a symbolic gesture to criticize the bill.

In the meantime, dozens of journalism groups attended a demonstration organized yesterday by the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK) Press Union in İstanbul.

The journalists in İstanbul also criticized the arrest of 16 Kurdish journalists in Diyarbakır city.

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