June 27
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party and his nationalist allies have submitted a law to parliament to introduce imprisonment for those who spread so-called fake news on the Internet, Ahval reported.

In December, Erdogan called social media "a major threat to democracy," saying his government would criminalize the spread of fake news and disinformation online

The digital censorship law provides one to three years in prison for anyone found to have publicly disseminated false information related to national security, public order or general public health that alarms, frightens or panics the public or disturbs public tranquility, local media reported.

Erdogan's government seeks to tighten media control and stifle dissent, a process that has accelerated since the introduction of a full presidential system of government in the summer of 2018.

The ruling Justice and Development Party, which operates jointly with the Nationalist Movement Party, said the law would be similar to legislation and regulations in Germany, France, and the United States.

In Germany, however, the law's provisions do not block access to social media or impose criminal sanctions other than fines. In France, the law focuses only on election disinformation, not on criminalizing disinformation, while U.S. measures are aimed at countering foreign propaganda and disinformation, particularly with regard to elections, he said.

Turkey ranks 149th out of 180 countries for media freedom, according to an annual report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released in early May.

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