Only 52% of Turks support right of criticizing government, PEW survey shows

By bne IntelliNews November 20, 2015

Only 52% of Turkish people supports that people should be able to criticize government’s policies, the least percentage among 38 surveyed countries, a recent survey by PEW Research Center showed. Support for the right of criticizing government stood at 72% in Russia and 95% in the US.

Freedom of speech is again a question mark in Turkey following the AKP’s victory in November 1 snap elections. The European Commission criticized Ankara on November 10 over human rights and democracy in its annual progress report on Turkey. A delayed report called on Turkey to address significant failings. The report emphasized an overall negative trend in the respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights. After several years of progress on freedom of expression, serious backsliding was seen over the past two years, said the report. Police raids on media outlets also add to concerns over the business climate and wider freedoms in Turkey. Critics fear that emboldened by the election victory the government would become less tolerant of dissenting voices. Turkey, Ukraine and Russia were among the worst performers in this year’s “Freedom on the Net” report by US-based think-tank Freedom House – a survey that measures levels of internet freedom in different countries worldwide.

39% of Turks think that the government should be able to prevent people from being critical of the state, according to PEW survey, while only 24% of Turks think that people should be able to make offensive statements to their religions and beliefs. 40% of Turks think that the government should be able to prevent media organizations from publishing information during large political protests in the country while 51% thinks that the government should be able to prevent media organizations from publishing information about economic issues that might destabilize the country’s economy and 59% think that the government should be able to prevent media organizations from publishing information about sensitive issues related to national security.

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