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New disinformation law in Türkiye is ‘a worrying step back’ ahead of 2023 elections, say PACE monitors

The adoption yesterday of the so-called disinformation law by the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye is “yet another worrying step back for freedom of speech and the media in Türkiye”, said John Howell (United Kingdom, EC/DA) and Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC), co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Türkiye by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

The new law, which foresees prison sentences for those spreading “false or misleading information”, is “an unnecessary and disproportionate interference with the freedom of expression”, the co-rapporteurs pointed out, as highlighted in a recent urgent opinion from the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission and a PACE resolution passed this week.

“It could have a chilling effect and trigger self-censorship, causing irreparable harm ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 2023,” they said. “We urge the Turkish Constitutional Court to review the law, taking into account the advice of the Venice Commission and the standards of the Council of Europe, of which Türkiye is a member.”