PEN Turkey: Censorship law targets fundamental rights and freedoms
The PEN Turkey Writers Association in a statement said that the "Disinformation Law," also known unofficially as the "Censorship Law," affects not only writers, journalists, or social media users but instead the whole society adding that the law is an attack on freedom of thought and expression.
The statement said: “A new crime is being added to the Turkish Penal Code with the title of 'publicly disseminating misleading information to the public.’ The purpose of the law is emphasized as 'fighting fake news' and 'fighting disinformation', but in an environment where there is no trust left in the law or the justice system, and where the society is divided as 'either you are with us or you are a traitor', and discrimination is at its highest level, who and how can anybody decide which news story is a lie or not? Which news story reflects the truth or not? Who and how will anybody decide which information is true, which rumor is false, which can be spread and which should never be repeated?
The statement reminded that inflation rates were being reported differently by Ministries, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK), and independent research institutions.
“Come on then, throw all of them in prison! Will it be a crime to say 'there is poverty in Turkey' or not? Can there be such an ambiguous law,” PEN Turkey said.
The Association emphasized that from the very first day they were aware of how this law targets freedom of thought and expression.
The statement added: “To this day, we have come together with various authors and publishing institutions and spoken out to prevent this law from being enacted. We are aware that this law aims to confiscate constitutional, and fundamental rights and freedoms, hinder the freedom to freely communicate and speak and invent a way to hide the truth. Besides glorifying literature, the aim of PEN is to protect freedom of thought and expression. Because both literature and society can only develop in environments with free thought and free speech.”