‘Censorship Law’ No. 7418 and ‘New NGO Law’ No. 7262
Although we have not yet begun to experience its consequences widely, the Amendment of the Press Law No. 7418 of 13.10.2022 and Some Laws, which is known as the "censorship law," stipulates that those who spread "false information" will be punished from 1 to 3 years, seems to put civil society in a more difficult situation after the 2023 elections. This Law, which we will talk about frequently this year, will be at the top of the civil society issues we will follow in the bulletins.
Although the government argues that Law No. 7418 was not prepared with political concerns and did not contain any censorship regulations, accompanied by Law No. 7262 on the Prevention of Financing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (the new "NGO Law"), it becomes easy to understand how much the civil society in Turkey is currently under intense pressure.
As a matter of fact, Law No. 7418 has exposed non-governmental organizations to the risk of being imprisoned for up to three years for allegedly disseminating "false information" due to the ideas expressed on their platforms and the data contained in the studies they publish. The Law No. 7262, on the other hand, with its vague definition of terrorism, uncertain sanctions, and controls, serves as a "Sword of Damocles" on non-governmental organizations. For this reason, non-governmental organizations have to continue their activities under the risk of being accused of supporting terrorism with the people and institutions they cooperate with, the reports they publish, or the grants they receive.These laws, which are clearly not "regulations that protect and develop rights and freedoms in related fields," can actually be described as initiatives that further erode the rule of law in Turkey. In the meantime, it should be noted that the Venice Commission also criticized the Law No. 7262 on the disproportionateness of the penal sanctions it envisaged as doubtful. Legislation processes that do not rely on impartial, concrete, and transparent data, do not take diversity and participation into account, as well as omnibus laws that cannot be discussed sufficiently have become ordinary legislative processes in the country. Suffice it to claim that his situation continues to cause irreparable wounds in liberal democracy, the rule of law, and social peace and reconciliation.
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The Freedom Observer
We monitor the ongoings of Turkiye in the fields of the rule of law, economics, civil society, and politics.