Kılıçdaroğlu defends freedom of expression on social media

While criticizing the “disinformation law,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has stated that it is natural for young people or anyone to express criticism on social media.

“Politicians should endure the harshest criticism as long as it does not contain insults,” he said on Oct. 20 at a meeting with young people in the Black Sea province of Tokat.

He pledged to annul the law if his party came into power.

“A politician needs healthy, consistent and rational criticism rather than praise. In this context, the media is the fourth power. In contemporary democracies, the legislature, the judiciary, the executive and the media…,” Kılıçdaroğlu stated.

The CHP leader said he would welcome criticism by independent journalists.

“No one in this country, regardless of age, gender or identity, can be imprisoned for their thoughts,” he added.

The CHP applied to the constitutional court to stay the execution of Article 29 of the “anti-disinformation regulation” published in the Official Gazette on Oct. 18.

The 40-article law aims to fight disinformation on conventional and social media with the votes of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) despite the fierce criticism by opposition parties and press associations. The most controversial article of the new law – Article 29 – stipulates up to a three-year prison sentence for those accused of spreading disinformation.