FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Shut Your Mouth or Go to Prison!

by MICHAEL DICKINSON

Instanbul.

“April Fool!”

Got any tricks up your sleeve for the first of the month to gull or dupe a comrade? Time for a laugh, to invent some fantastic story and convince others that it’s true.

‘The Spaghetti Harvest’ for instance a spoof by the serious BBC programme Panorama which had people believing that pasta grew on trees; the 1999 Wall of Sound hoax that ‘revealed’ Britney Spears was ten years older than she claimed; the National Public Radio’s 1992 announcement that Nixon was to run again for President (“hadn’t done anything wrong, and wouldn’t do it again”).

Don’t get caught yourself!

Here’s one to play on your writer friends –

Tell them that a new law has come out and that:

You will be heavily fined or can go to prison for two years if you say anything nasty about anyone in the government or draw ‘disrespectful’ cartoons of them

You can be fined and go to prison for up to ten years for contradicting the government’s version of history, speaking against national service in the army, or generally being considered contrary to national fundamental interest

Covering issues such as euthanasia or cases of rape or suicide can also land you in jail.

Material deemed ‘obscene’ will also invoke a prison sentence

The sentence will be increased by a third if it is published in the press

That should be enough for them to be wetting their knickers!

But of course, the seasonal joke has a time limit, and you’re not supposed to keep it up for more than the day.

“April Fool’s is past and gone You’re the fool and I am none!” was the formula retort we children were taught to chant at anyone trying to stretch out a jest unduly.

But what if this rather sick April fool’s joke didn’t end that day, but was kept up and went on and on? And to make it even sicker was sanctioned and approved by the government and turned out to be REAL!

Sorry to give the game away in advance but the whole of the above scenario is the situation faced by the journalists of Turkey, all part of the New Penal Code which comes into force on April the First 2005.

Earlier this month 250 Turkish journalists took to the streets of Istanbul in a demonstration demanding changes to this new prospective law, unfurling banners that read “Don’t Let Turkey be Uninformed!” and “No to Censorship!” marching and shouting, “A Free Press Cannot be Silenced!”

At the rally point in front of the Post Office, Turkish Journalists’ Union (TGS) Chairman Ercan Ipekçi announced:

“Investigations made into journalists will lead them to ‘auto-censor’ – the most dangerous form of censorship. We are trying to warn the government of this danger. We hope our voices will be heard.”

“We call for the law to be amended to abolish prison terms for press offences.”

It all comes into law this April Fool’s Day 2005, but it is NOT a joke.

Watch out America. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, the deviser of this new penal code is counted a ‘personal friend’ of George W Bush

It can’t happen here?…

MICHAEL DICKINSON is a writer and artist who works as an English teacher in Istanbul, Turkey. He designed the cover art for two CounterPunch books, Serpents in the Garden and Dime’s Worth of Difference, as well as Grand Theft Pentagon, forthcoming from Common Courage Press. He can be contacted through his website of collage pictures at http://CARNIVAL_OF_CHAOS.TRIPOD.COM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Dickinson can be contacted at michaelyabanji@gmail.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 23, 2017
John Wight
Manchester Attacks: What Price Hypocrisy?
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
Michael J. Sainato
Devos Takes Out Her Hatchet
L. Ali Khan
I’m a Human and I’m a Cartoon
May 22, 2017
Diana Johnstone
All Power to the Banks! The Winners-Take-All Regime of Emmanuel Macron
Robert Fisk
Hypocrisy and Condescension: Trump’s Speech to the Middle East
John Grant
Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and the Return of Reefer Madness
Nozomi Hayase
Trump and the Resurgence of Colonial Racism
Rev. William Alberts
The Normalizing of Authoritarianism in America
Frank Stricker
Getting Full Employment: the Fake Way and the Right Way 
Jamie Davidson
Red Terror: Anti-Corbynism and Double Standards
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, Sweden, and Continuing Battles
Robert Jensen
Beyond Liberal Pieties: the Radical Challenge for Journalism
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Extravagant Saudi Trip Distracts from His Crisis at Home
Angie Beeman
Gig Economy or Odd Jobs: What May Seem Trendy to Privileged City Dwellers and Suburbanites is as Old as Poverty
Colin Todhunter
The Public Or The Agrochemical Industry: Who Does The European Chemicals Agency Serve?
Jerrod A. Laber
Somalia’s Worsening Drought: Blowback From US Policy
Michael J. Sainato
Police Claimed Black Man Who Died in Custody Was Faking It
Clancy Sigal
I’m a Trump Guy, So What?
Gerry Condon
In Defense of Tulsi Gabbard
Weekend Edition
May 19, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Getting Assange: the Untold Story
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Secret Sharer
Charles Pierson
Trump’s First Hundred Days of War Crimes
Paul Street
How Russia Became “Our Adversary” Again
Andrew Levine
Legitimation Crises
Mike Whitney
Seth Rich, Craig Murray and the Sinister Stewards of the National Security State 
Robert Hunziker
Early-Stage Antarctica Death Rattle Sparks NY Times Journalists Trip
Ken Levy
Why – How – Do They Still Love Trump?
Bruce E. Levine
“Hegemony How-To”: Rethinking Activism and Embracing Power
Robert Fisk
The Real Aim of Trump’s Trip to Saudi Arabia
Christiane Saliba
Slavery Now: Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia
Chris Gilbert
The Chávez Hypothesis: Vicissitudes of a Strategic Project
Howard Lisnoff
Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain
Brian Cloughley
Propaganda Feeds Fear and Loathing
Stephen Cooper
Is Alabama Hiding Evidence It Tortured Two of Its Citizens?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail