According to western media, Turkish journalist Sedef Kabash has been arrested for making offensive remarks about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during live television broadcasts in recent days. According to details, the journalist broadcasted live an insolent saying about cattle in the palace in the context of the policy of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The words of the female journalist caused a wide resonance in social media and were denounced by government officials, while representatives of the ruling Party publicly reacted harshly to the comments of the journalist. According to reports, the Turkish High Council of Radio and Television (RTÜK) has launched an investigation against the TV channel “Tele-1” on which Kabash appeared, while the court ruled on the arrest of Turkish journalist, Sedef Kabash.
According to Article 299 of the constitution of Turkey, insulting the head of the state is a criminal offense and the accused can be slapped with a punishment of one to four years imprisonment or fine, or both. The law was adopted in 2005 but prosecution surged during Erdogan’s era. According to reports, the Turkish government has squeezed the space for freedom of expression in society while digital and print media, as well as social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others, are under strict censorship of the government.
According to a report of Turkish media outlet, Gazette Devor, Turkish Police had launched a probe to 128, 872 cases of alleged insulting of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during 2015 to 2019, while 9,556 people had been prosecuted and sentenced including 903 minors of ages 12-17 years for their posts on social media. According to data, the victims of article 299 include people from all walks of life including political opponents, students, journalists, academics, TV artists, anchors, and minors of age 12 for merely using proverbs, vague references.
According to reports, last year a journalist was prosecuted for posting a 300-year-old poem on his Twitter account. Turkish media has imposed self-censorship while people avoid sharing their views regarding political matters on social media due to fear of prosecution on the charges of insult by the government. Presently, Turkey occupies the top slot in the list of nations having the least freedom of expression in their countries. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had urged the Turkish government to rescind article 299, which violates the basic rights of the Turkish people including freedom of expression, and also in contradiction of rule 10 of the European convention on human rights. In fact, Erdogan and his aides had drawn a thin line between criticism and insult while creating a sense of fear and distrust among the masses about the authoritarian attitude of the government.
No criticism can endanger a government except its own deeds, Erdogan must lessons to the critics who highlight the shortcomings of the government whereas the deputies and Ministers never told the truth to the kings in history and Erdogan has no exception from it. It is suggested to the Turkish strongman that if he desires to win the hearts of the people then keep his heart abreast and honor the sane voices who speak for the good and welfare of the country, as no great man ever dies of a curse but through his own hands.