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Turkey’s top court upholds controversial media law as EU laments 'democratic backsliding'

The ruling coincided with the release of the EU Commission's annual report which noted “continued deterioration” in the country’s democratic standards, the rule of law, and the independence of the judiciary.
Journalists carrying placards "No to the censorship law" and "We are journalists" take part in a protest in front of the Constitutional Court in Ankara on Nov. 8, 2023, regarding the law discussed by the Constitutional Court and known to the public as the Censorship Law.

ANKARA — Turkey’s highest court on Wednesday upheld a controversial “disinformation” law that led to the persecution of dozens of journalists, exacerbating the country’s already dismal rights record which the European Commission said has deteriorated further over the past year.

The Constitutional Court ruled by majority that the law, which imposes up to a three-year jail term for spreading “disinformation,” was not in violation of the constitution. Hundreds of individuals — including dozens of journalists — were charged under the law over the past year.

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party applied to the Constitutional Court to annul the law after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling alliance passed it last year, despite a large-scale outcry from media watchdogs and right groups.

The government’s critics have slammed the law as yet another attempt to silence dissent in a country which already has a dismal record on freedom of expression, freedom of press and other fundamental human rights. 

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