Erdoğan warns media over publishing content threatening ‘national values’

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday threatened Turkey’s media against disseminating content that damaged the “country’s core values,” in a notice published in the Official Gazette.

The notice cited measures necessary to maintain the country’s “national culture” and prevent its children “from being negatively affected due to exposure to harmful content” in all forms of media, Time Türk reported.

Erdoğan over his almost two-decades in power has succeeded in bringing newspapers and television stations largely under his government's control,while tightening its grip on the internet. His government plans to intensify the crackdown on social media, citing what its calls fake news and disinformation.

The Turkish government would take legal against “overt or covert activities through the media aimed at undermining our national and moral values ​​and disrupting our family and social structure,” according to the notice, which stopped short of detailing the content of such activities.

Erdoğan’s government is currently drafting a bill that will see social media violations of “fake news, disinformation, provocation and lynch justice" to be punished by fines and up to five years in prison.

In 2020, Turkish parliament approved sweeping changes to social media regulations, introducing fines, restricted bandwidth and possible bans for social media firms who break the law and giving the government sweeping new powers to regulate content.

Turkey was ranked “not free” by Freedom House in its Freedom in the World 2021 index. The organisation said the government continued to expand its attempts to control online sources of news and information.

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