OSCE media freedom representative calls on Turkish President to veto Internet Law, return it for public consultations
VIENNA, 17 February 2014 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, today called on President of Turkey Abdullah Gül to veto the Internet Law and return it to Parliament and civil society for further discussions.
“I am concerned that the new Internet Law will threaten free expression and media freedom in Turkey,” Mijatović wrote in a letter to President Gül. “It contains several highly worrisome provisions which could block free online discourse on issues of public interest.”
Mijatović pointed to a number of concerns with the law, including the increased authority of the communications regulator, the Telecommunications Communication Presidency (TIB), to request and collect data on any Internet user without judicial oversight; the power of TIB to instruct Internet service providers to retain traffic data without court decision, and hosting providers to retain communications data for up to two years; and new amendments that will allow for the possibility of blocking websites without sufficient court supervision.
“The Internet Law can lead to violations of privacy and Internet users’ rights as it allows for arbitrary interference by the regulator,” Mijatović said. “The law will lead to more restrictions on free speech and it can negatively affect journalists’ work.”
She noted that essential stakeholders were not consulted during the drafting process, and existing concerns about the restrictive nature of the original Internet Law were not considered.
“Your decision to veto the law in its current form would enable Parliament to consider its effect and allow for broad public discussions, including civil society, academia and other stakeholders,” Mijatović wrote to President Gül.
The Representative concluded by offering her assistance in bringing the new law in line with international standards on online freedom of expression.
Related statements by the Representative can be accessed at http://www.osce.org/fom/110884.
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom, and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on facebook.com/osce.rfom.