Law Amending the Press Law and Certain Laws numbered 7418 (“Law”) was published in Official Gazette dated 18 October 2022 and numbered 31987.
The Law significantly amends a wide range of different legislations and includes amendments to Press Law numbered 5187 (“Press Law”), Law on the Establishment of the Press Advertising Agency numbered 195 (“Law No. 195”) and Turkish Criminal Code numbered 5237 (“Criminal Code”).
The Law has become effective as of its publication date, except for articles 20, 21, 22, 25, 26,27, 28(a) and 28(b) regulating the functions and additional obligations of the Press Publication Authority. Aforementioned articles will be effective as of 1 April 2023.
Notable amendments brought by the Law within the scope of the Press Law are as follows:
- Online websites have been added within the scope of periodical publications in the article regulating the scope of the Press Law.
- The scope of the mandatory information required on the homepages of online news websites have been extended and it has become an obligation to include more specific information such as their workplace addresses, commercial titles and e-mail addresses. This information will also need to be available under the websites’ “Contact” section. The unfulfillment of such duty will be subject to fines amounting from TRY 500 to TRY 20,000. In addition, websites are obliged to include all updates and changes made to their contents with their relevant dates available to their viewers, specified on the content.
- Publishers have become obliged to submit copies of each publication to the Public Prosecutors’ Office (“PPC”) on the day the distribution or publication is made. In addition, online news websites are obliged to keep their published contents for two years, in case needed to be submitted upon the PPC’s request. This article also obliges the contents to be kept if the internet news websites are informed that these contents are subject to investigations and prosecutions, until they are further informed that such procedures are concluded. If the managers of the internet news websites do not comply with this duty, the penalty which will be imposed on the publisher has also become applicable for the manager of the online news website amounting to between TRY 300 to 1000.
- In line with the duty of the responsible manager of periodical publications to publish the correction and reply within the scope of the Press Law, it has become obligatory for the responsible manager of an online news website to publish the correction and reply written by the person harmed by the published content to publish this text on the following day of the publication the latest. This text will be published on the page and column of the original content, providing the URL, in the same font. Failure to fulfill these duties will lead to the judge’s decision for this text to be published in two online news websites and two newspapers with print run over 100,000. All expenses will be paid by the owner of the publication.
- The fines which will be imposed to publishers of contents which fall outside the scope of giving information and which encourages such acts of sexual assault, murder, and suicide have also become imposable on online news websites. The amount of fines which may apply to online news websites within this scope has been regulated as TRY 10,000 as minimum, and TRY 20,000 as maximum.
- The time limit for annulment action for all crimes committed through online news websites and any crimes regulated under the Press Law is regulated as 4 months.
- Online news websites and their managers which have already been operating before the Law’s effective date are given 4 months starting from this effective date in order to ensure full compliance of all their previously and currently published contents’ compliance with the Press Law. The validity of the press cards previously obtained is preserved, given that the newly introduced terms and conditions regulated under the Press Law by the Law are fulfilled.
- The conditions and obligations of those who will make official announcements and advertisements on online news websites and the terms and principles which will apply to their content have been added. These rules will be later regulated by Press and Advertisement Agency within 6 months following the effective date of the Law.
- “Crime of publicly spreading misleading information” has been added to the Crimes Against Public Peace section of the Turkish Criminal Code, with article 217/A.As per this newly regulated crime, the person who publicly spreads false information related to national or international, public policy or general health of the country, with the sole aim of creating worry, fear and panic among the public and which may disturb public peace will be imposed to imprisonment between 1 year to 3 years.
Details of the Law can be found through this link. (Only available in Turkish)