Many Turkish YouTubers were jailed for questioning their fellow residents about the country’s currency issue. This occurred after the Turkish government threatened to tighten down online “lies and misinformation.”
The country is collapsing
Turkish currency lost 50% of its value, versus the dollar, since this time last year, as a result of authorities’ unconventional monetary policies. This is leaving residents with diminished purchasing power and significant price instability.
Hasan Köksoy, who manages a channel on YouTube, Kendine Muhabir (which means to self-report), said he was hauled out of his bedroom “like a terrorist.” He was then detained “for giving a microphone to the people” in a post translated into English.
According to media reports, all of the journalists were released from detention but ordered to remain under house arrest, effectively blocking them from further reporting.
Turkey arrests YouTubers who talk to the public about financial woes https://t.co/byKC0RZQdu
— Vassiliki Souladaki (@Vsouladaki) December 16, 2021
As per the local news station Turkey Purge, which tracks human rights violations in the nation, Arif Kocabyk and Turan Kural were also detained.
The gentlemen have been conducting interviews about the market and its influence on their money on separate YouTube channels. Mehmet Koyuncu, a fourth YouTuber, stated he was not detained, but police approached him.
The YouTubers were charged with “disparaging the government and authorities,” according to Turkey Purge.
— Yeni Şafak English (@yenisafakEN) December 21, 2021
The arrests come as Turkish politicians warned of social media clampdowns. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed in a recent address that social media is one of the “primary sources of challenges to today’s society.”
The president also warned he will crackdown on digital media to “combat propaganda and misinformation,” with sentences of up to five years in jail, according to Al Jazeera.
No more freedom
Critics claim this will impose further constraints on freedom of speech.
Turkey was rated “not free” in the 2021 Liberty on the Internet report by the human rights organization, Liberty House, which assesses individual freedoms around the world.
The report noted pervasive filtering or removal of online information that is critical of the government. 72 journalists are now imprisoned in Turkey, as per the Stockholm Center for Press Freedom, while 89 are facing charges.
Erdogan’s anti-“disinformation” campaign is similar to those of other despotic governments across the world. Cuba’s Marxist government approved laws classifying “misinformation” as “cyberwarfare,” following major anti-government protests.
Citizens shared images and videos of the demonstrations on social media, bringing global attention to the government’s harsh practices.
As per the Biden government, the Chinese Communist Party approved the “Hong Kong Homeland Security Law” last year, which toughened punishments for “secession” and “subterfuge.”
Despite considerable worldwide objections, the bill severely curtailed the rights of the individual for Hong Kong residents, prompting the Biden government to warn about the “increasing hazards” of doing business in the city.
The Biden government, on the other hand, is censoring itself. If people post “misleading information online,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this year, they “shouldn’t just be blacklisted from one site, but also others.”
Psaki also claimed the Biden government “flagged inappropriate Facebook posts that promote disinformation.”