ISTANBUL - Journalist Tuğrul Eryılmaz stated that the controversial "censorship" law targets the society, and that even saying "fake news stories” will be treated as "fake news stories” and will be punished.
With the Decree Law No. 675 (KHK) enacted within the scope of the State of Emergency (OHAL) declared after the military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, 10 newspapers, 3 magazines and 2 news agencies, including Özgür Gündem, Azadîya Welat Newspaper, Dicle News Agency (DİHA) and Jin News Agency (JİNHA), were shut down. A total of 178 media outlets were closed with the decrees issued between July 20 and December 31. In total, 5 news agencies, 62 newspapers, 19 magazines, 34 radio, 29 television and 29 publishing houses were closed.
In addition, many TVs, newspapers and broadcasting organisations that continued their press activities came under the control of the AKP. However, the AKP-MHP, which could not achieve the desired result despite this, increased the pressure on the media with the laws they introduced. However the free press and the alternative news outlets continued to work. The government, trying to prevent the society from getting the right information and news, brought the censorship law back to the agenda. While the censorship law submitted to the Parliament passed by the Justice Commission, the Plenary Session discussions were postponed to the new legislative period.
THE ORGANISATION OF AKP-MHP: BİK
While AKP-MHP claims that "freedom of expression will be guaranteed", opposition parties and non-governmental organisations considers this law as the biggest censorship arrangement in history. In the bill, which includes a series of regulations, declarations will now be given to the Press Announcement Agency (BİK) instead of the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. BİK will have the authority to apply to the judiciary, claiming the news in question is 'fake'.
PRISON SENTENCE FOR ‘FAKE’ NEWS SRORIES
In addition, there are some regulations for the press card in the bill. Journalist who supposedly committed “Crimes against public peace", "Crimes against the constitutional order and the functioning of this order", "Crimes against national defense" and "Crimes against state secrets" are prevented from being issued a press card. In addition, the bill aims to impose a prison sentence on "fake news stories”.
T24 writer and journalist Tuğrul Eryılmaz, who has been working in various opposition media outlets for nearly 50 years, evaluated the censorship law that AKP-MHP plans to introduce in order to silence the internet media, which is seen as an alternative media.
‘THE GOVERNMENT HIDES THE BILL’S ULTERIOR MOTIVES'
Drawing attention to the name of the bill, Eryılmaz said that the AKP government hides its ulterior motives with the name of the bill proposal. Eryılmaz said: “The government may present the regulation they have introduced to curtail freedoms, the 'law of freedoms'. Or, the government can use words of democracy too much while there isn’t democracy. This design and its name should be looked at in the same context. The government calls it 'disinformation'. We call it 'censorship'. Why do we call this censorship? Because they will call the news stories that will disturb them as "fake news stories”.
JOURNALIST IS NOT NO ONE'S SPOKESPERSON
Expressing that the journalist should not be the spokespersons for anyone, Eryılmaz said: “Journalists have to convey the facts no matter what. Journalists need to help those who are unable to make their voices heard. They should not be the mouths of anyone. For example, it is not my place to speak on behalf of HDP, LGBT or feminists. However, there is a problem: their voices need to be heard.”
EVERYONE WILL BE HARMED BY THE BILL
Warning that everyone would be harmed by the enactment of the bill, Eryılmaz said: “They want to scare you before you even didn’t report your news story. They want the journalists to censor themselves. Self-censorship is journalism's worst enemy. I am 75 years old. I've been a journalist for almost 50 years. I really don't remember that I was faced with such a grave period in my time as a journalist.”
‘THEY WANT TO CREATE A SOCIETY OF FEAR’
Eryılmaz said: “I am surprised that the government has the courage to do this. How far can they go? I don't want to believe that this government will go this far. The government says that whatever they want will happen no matter what anybody else wants. They want to create a society of fear. These things happen slowly. They plan to make a public that fears everything. This is very dangerous. The newspapers and televisions are not properly doing their jobs as it is. The government already have it all.”
‘FAKE NEWS STORIES’
Referring to the phrase "fake news story” in the bill, Eryılmaz said: “The government can punish a news story and its writer eaisly claiming that it is a ‘fake news story’ with this bill. The government can consider everything a fake news story. The aim of the bill is to scare people and the journalists. The government tries to prevent public to get the true information with the bill.”
A SOLUTION MUST BE FOUND
Eryılmaz who pointed out that a solution must be found, said: “The law has not been above everything in Turkey for quite some time. The law is for the interests of the government. The ways of discussion and resistance must be found, there is no other option. There is nothing left to talk about anymore. What would happen if the bill became law is very simple. The government will hunt the opposition no matter what their ideology is. They won't tolerate anyone."
‘JOURNALISTS AND THE OPPOSITIONS SHOULD RAISE THEIR VOICE ON THE STREETS’
Eryılmaz said: "The top priority against this bill should be for the press organizations to take to the streets. The opposition is insufficient. The government want to start a discussion and bring back capital punishment and they will do that if the bill is passed because if the public remains silent, the government does what it wants for its own interests, so the public, journalists and the oppositions should raise their voices together.”