Turkiye police said they have arrested 78 people for creating fear and panic by “sharing provocative posts” on social media about last week’s earthquake.
The death toll in Turkey and Syria from the devastating earthquake has climbed above 41,000, and millions are still seeking humanitarian aid from the world.
Turkey’s General Directorate of Security said it had identified 613 people accused of making provocative posts, and legal proceedings had been initiated against 293. Of this group, the chief prosecutor had ordered the arrest of 78.
The directorate added that 46 websites were shut down for running “phishing scams” trying to steal donations for quake victims and 15 social media accounts posing as official institutions were closed.
Last year in October, Turkey’s parliament adopted a law under which journalists and social media users could be jailed for up to three years for spreading “disinformation”.
President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party had said a law was needed to tackle false accusations on social media, and it would not silence opposition. The government has also blocked social media in the past.
Last week Turkey blocked access to Twitter for about 12 hours from Wednesday afternoon to early Thursday, citing the spread of disinformation, prompting an angry response from opposition politicians and people using the platform to find loved ones and share information about rescue efforts.
Turkey’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun tweeted on Monday that Turkey was experiencing “serious information pollution” and authorities would share a daily bulletin correcting false information.
Within a week of the earthquake, some 6,200 items of false information and news were reported to the government, Altun added.
Turkiye, Syria & Iraq quake
A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake jolts Turkey, Syria, and Iraq last week on 6th February leaving a death toll of more than 20,000 meanwhile thousand are still stuck under the wreckage.
The magnitude of the quake was 7.8 which struck in the early darkness of a winter morning, Jolts of the quake were also felt in Cyprus and Lebanon.
The German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) said the quake struck at a depth of 10 km (6 miles) near the southern Turkiye’s city of Kahramanmaras, while the EMSC monitoring service said the chance of a tsunami risk was being evaluated after the powerful earthquake.
After a 7.8-powerful Earthquake, another quake of 7.5 Magnitude jolts turkey once again. Rescue teams are put on high alert.
Emergency has been declared all over Turkey.