Journalist Canan Kaya faces ‘disinformation' investigation because of her earthquake-related broadcast

Journalist Canan Kaya faces ‘disinformation' investigation because of her earthquake-related broadcast
A criminal investigation has been launched against journalist Canan Kaya over the suspicion of “openly disseminating information misleading the public” because of her earthquake-related broadcast which was discovered during a “virtual patrol” conducted by the police in violation of the constitution. The Press Crimes Investigation Bureau of the Istanbul Anatolian Chief Public Prosecutor's Office initiated an investigation against Canan Kaya, the owner of Medya Koridoru and the Chief Editor, over the suspicion of “openly disseminating information misleading the public” (Turkish Penal Code Article 217/A)” citing the earthquake-related broadcast she made on her YouTube channel on 13 February 2023. It has been learned that the investigation against Kaya was initiated after the broadcast was “detected” by the police during a “virtual patrol.” In the cited broadcast which took place on the seventh day of the February 6 earthquakes, the journalist covered the claims of journalist Abdullah Aslan, who is a local journalist in Adıyaman.

Kaya: What I did is journalism

Journalist Kaya, who is accompanied by MLSA lawyers, gave her statement today at the police station on Vatan Avenue. Kaya, who stated that the broadcast in question was a journalistic activity, shared that the claim “The Disaster And Emergency Management Presidency's (AFAD) Regional Logistics Depot did not work for four days” mentioned in the broadcast was also investigated by the Adıyaman MP of the Republican People's Party (CHP), Abdurrahman Tutdere and that Tutdere made a statement about it. Kaya stated that this issue had news value and that she invited a journalist working in Adıyaman to her broadcast for this reason.

Virtual patrol is against the constitution

Fatih Aydın, one of the lawyers of the MLSA’s Legal Team, stated that the material elements of the crime regulated by Article 217/A of the Turkish Penal Code do not exist and emphasized that the investigation was initiated unlawfully. Lawyer Aydın reminded that the Constitutional Court declared the law article which gave the police this authority unconstitutional and nullified it with its decision dated February 19, 2020. He argued that there is no place for prosecution against Kaya and that a decision of non-prosecution should be made.

Police tried to access journalists' social media accounts

Lawyers of Kaya, who examined the investigation file, saw that screenshots showing that the police tried to access journalist Kaya and her guest journalist Abdullah Aslan's social media accounts were submitted to the investigation file. The screenshots reveal that the police tried to verify whether the social media accounts belonged to the journalists by using the “forgot my password” option and in doing so tried to match the registered phone numbers and email addresses. *This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. The work may be used and redistributed for non-commercial purposes with proper attribution to the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA).

Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) haber alma hakkı, ifade özgürlüğü ve basın özgürlüğü alanlarında faaliyet yürüten bir sivil toplum kuruluşudur. Derneğimiz başta gazeteciler olmak üzere mesleki faaliyetleri sebebiyle yargılanan kişilere hukuki destek vermektedir.