Turkey: court releases journalist detained under new ‘disinformation’ law

A court in Turkey has ordered the release of a reporter who has been in prison since December on accusations of disseminating disinformation, his lawyer said.

Turkey’s government says the disinformation law, approved two months ago by parliament, that is said to protect the public, but which critics say could be used to suppress dissent, has been used to imprison the first person pending trial.

A 14-year-old girl was allegedly raped last week in Bitlis province, where Kurdish is the majority language. Police and military personnel are alleged to have participated in the rape, according to Aygul, a journalist there.

Upon realising his error, he deleted the posts and apologised for not having verified the information with authorities.

A lawyer filed an objection to the detention order late Friday, releasing Aygul, according to a video posted to Twitter.
Anyone who distributes false or misleading information can be fined up to $500,000 and imprisoned for up to three years, depending on the nature of the offence.

This incident has raised concerns of a further crackdown on media after a Reuters investigation revealed how authorities and self-censorship turned Turkish mainstream media into a mouthpiece for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration. Erdogan’s AK party and its nationalist MHP allies say it aims to combat disinformation.


Image Credit: AP Photo/Francisco Seco