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The Checks and Balances Network formed by 295 NGOs have released a statement about the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) social media bill to be debated at the Parliamentary Justice Commission today (July 23). The Network has requested the withdrawal of the bill.
Noting that the bill will cause freedoms of expression, press and communication to be curtailed, the Network has said:
“We are calling on the decision makers to listen to all segments of the society, especially the NGOs, so that we can seek solutions for the new problems posed by communication technologies with a libertarian mindset and to introduce the necessary legislation with a social consensus.”
‘It leads to mounting concerns’
“We remind you: Freedoms of expression, press and communication are Constitutional rights,” the title of the statement has read, briefly adding:
“Freedom of thought and expression, along with freedom of press and communication, are among the fundamental rights that are safeguarded by both the Constitution and the universal law. The developments unfolding in the last years in Turkey lead to growing concerns that these freedoms are curtailed. The social media bill submitted to the Parliament has, unfortunately, led to mounting public concerns in that regard.
“It is utterly unacceptable that social media is used as a tool to attack personal rights or to launch hate attacks. However, by citing it as a reason, one needs to avoid introducing a legislation that will restrict citizens’ access to social media or cause them to shay away from using these networks.
‘It needs to be solved based on a libertarian mindset’
“Introducing such a legislation in a period when social media and the Internet have become an integral part of freedom of expression, press and communication will cause citizens to be punished, rather than the ones who commit crimes. Regardless of its objective, it will pave the way for restriction of freedoms.
“We, as 295 non-governmental organizations believing that problems can be solved only by discussion, request the withdrawal of this bill which has led to concerns among the public.
“We are calling on the decision makers to listen to all segments of the society, especially the NGOs, so that we can seek solutions for the new problems posed by communication technologies with a libertarian mindset and to introduce the necessary legislation with a social consensus.” (HA/SD)