Concern Over Draft Laws on Freedom of Speech

North Cyprus News - Judges Gavel

Monday, 30 May 2022 

There is mounting concern regarding the introduction of the Protection of Private Life and Private Areas of Life law and the Laws of Informative Publications, Yeniduzen reported.

Lawyers and politicians who have commented on the “restriction of freedom step” have warned that “Criticism and comments on social media will be considered a crime, thousands of lawsuits will be filed! 

Yeniduzen states the new laws restricting freedom of speech are aimed at creating a climate of fear in the country by using the threat of crime and punishment through concepts that are completely open to interpretation and are relative.

For example: “Creating dissatisfaction or hostility towards the President” or “destroying the friendship between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey”.

The allegation of “discontent” or “hostility” could attract a five-year prison sentence, Yeniduzen writes.

Elsewhere, in defence of the new draft law, President Ersin Tatar said that if he was insulted, the Turkish Cypriot people were insulted.

The draft law on the Protection of Private Life and Private Areas of Life also includes a new regulation, expanding the definition of “social media” as follows: “The environment in which all kinds of messages created using digital media, technologies, information systems and mass media that allow social media users to create media content individually or in groups and share written audio or visual content are published”. 

Ten days ago the President of the Bar Association Hasan Esendağlı said that those who had prepared the bill were fascist and reactionary.

Leader of the opposition party (CTP) Tufan Erhürman who by profession is a lawyer on May 21 said, “Liberties in this country are not toys that you can use to secure your reputation that you cannot achieve through democratic methods, with the threat of crime and punishment“.

He said that the some of the terms in the new economic protocol signed with Turkey had nothing to do with the economy but sought to interfere with the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Turkish Cypriots.


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