Turkey: 'Anti-alcohol' web clampdown mulled

  • 10 March 2014
People drink beer in a square in Ankara, Turkey
People drink in a square in the Turkish capital, Ankara, at a 2011 protest against restrictions on alcohol sales

Turkish authorities are mulling heavy fines for people who promote alcohol and drinking on social media, it's reported.

The policy would affect people sharing pictures that "suggest advertising for alcohol brands" on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - as well as companies advertising their products - says Turkish daily Hurriyet. The penalties could range between 5,000 and 200,000 Turkish Lira (£1,355-£54,223), it adds.

Companies have turned to online promotion after a law passed last year banned brewers and distillers from traditional advertising and sponsorship of cultural events. The bill also restricted the sale of alcohol. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has campaigned against "tipsy and wasted youth", advising young people to enjoy the traditional yoghurt beverage "ayran" instead of the fiery local brandy known as "raki".

During protests last year the ruling Justice Development Party was accused of a creeping Islamisation of the country. In September, authorities lifted the headscarf ban in a number of state institutions. There has also been talk of a ban on kissing in public. Last week, Erdogan said his government might ban Facebook and YouTube altogether, since opponents were using social media to attack him.

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