In recent years, the Turkish media have been under rising pressure as thousands of journalists remain behind bars and the country continues to rank at the bottom of global indices on freedom of the press. and now there are new banking laws that will make everything even worse.
Now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, recently introduced banking regulations pose new threats to reporters covering economic developments in the country, which media advocates say should be revised immediately to limit future prosecutions against journalists and domestic media organisations.
On May 7, Turkey ‘s banking regulator, the Banking Regulation and Supervisory Agency, published measures in the country’s Official Gazette that mandated fines for disseminating information that “would damage the financial system and lead to systemic risks because of the loss of confidence in the financial system.”
New banking rules affect the press
The legislation will also levy penalties for the production of false or deceptive “bid, demand, or price” representations of financial instruments. While the steps are not specifically going at journalists. The language could impact media professionals reporting on economic developments. As Turkey, like other countries, is dealing with the economic shocks of the COVID-19 crisis. Ozgur Ogret, Turkey ‘s attorney for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said.
“The experts we’ve been talking to all have said the text’s vagueness makes it potentially dangerous and I agree”. Ogret told Al-Monitor. “The law is yet another cause for fear among journalists and maybe self-censorship, if nothing else.”
The developments come after the Banking Regulation blocked three international banks BNP Paribas, Citibank and UBS. Supervision Agency from conducting Turkish lira-foreign exchange transactions earlier this month to avoid perceived manipulation of the financial markets.
According to the state-run news agency Anadolu. Turkish regulators had previously launched legal action against London-based financial institutions over allegations. They had weakened the Turkish lira. Turkish lira fell to a historic low of 7.25 compared with the US dollar on May 7.