Erdogan from Turkey Says Social Media is “a Threat to Democracy” | Social Media News

President Erdogan said it was important to fight disinformation and propaganda “within the framework of the truth”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday described social media as one of the main threats to democracy.

Erdogan’s government plans to pursue legislation to criminalize the dissemination of false information and disinformation online, but critics say the proposed changes would tighten restrictions on free speech.

Erdogan said when they first appeared, social media was hailed as a symbol of freedom, but has now “become one of the main sources of threats to democracy today” .

“In this regard, it is important to educate the public to fight disinformation and propaganda within the framework of the truth,” he said.

“We try to protect our people, especially vulnerable sections of our society, against lies and disinformation without violating the right of our citizens to receive accurate and impartial information.”

“Unwanted” comment

The long-time Turkish president said that the lives of millions of people were “darkened” because of the dissemination of such information from “channels lacking any effective monitoring mechanism”.

Turkey passed a law last year requiring social media platforms with more than one million users to have legal representation and store data in the country. Major social media companies, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, have since established offices in Turkey.

The new legislation would make the dissemination of criminal offenses of “disinformation” and “false information” punishable by up to five years in prison, according to pro-government media. It would also establish a social media regulator.

Most of Turkey’s big media companies are under government control, leaving social media as a major outlet for dissenting voices.

Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net report, released in September, called Turkey “not free”, noting the removal of critical government content and the prosecution of people posting “unwanted” comments on social media.