THE THIRD JUDICIAL REFORM PACKAGE

Following the 2010 Constitutional Amendments, many legislative amendments and subsidiary implementations were put into practice. Within this scope The Third Judicial Reform Package, which was prepared to strengthen democratization, in line with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and to decrease the workload of the judiciary by speeding up judicial procedures, entered into force on 5 July 2012.

With this package, it has become possible to suspend the cases and execution of penalties for offences committed through the press or other ways of expression.

Regarding the freedom of expression and the freedom of press, with the amendment of Articles 132, 133 and 134 of the Turkish Penal Code, provisions which provide for an increase of the penalty when the crime has been committed through the press or broadcasts have been repealed; in addition, the illegal disclosure of legal tapping has also been constituted as an offence.

Articles 285 and 288 of the Turkish Penal Code have been amended so as to address the criticisms that “many investigations and prosecutions are being conducted against press members due to uncertainty of the nature of offense, and this affects the freedom of press and expression in an adverse manner”, which was expressed in connection with the offences regarding violation of the confidentiality of the investigation and the attempts to influence the judiciary.

Article 285 (violation of the confidentiality) of the Turkish Penal Code, has been amended so that the penalties will no longer be increased if the offense has been committed through the press or broadcasting and provided that the restrictions on reporting on investigations and prosecutions are observed, reporting on these matters will not be considered as an offense.

Article 288 (Attempts to influence the judiciary) of the Turkish Penal Code has been amended so as to make the nature of offense more explicit. In addition, imprisonment has been replaced by a criminal fine. Thus, this offense has been designated as subject to pre-payment.

Through the addition of a provisional article to the Law No. 5187 on the Press, a number of decisions, taken by various courts on different dates regarding the confiscation of printed works, some of which were later eliminated have been revoked to lift the restrictions on the freedom of press and freedom of expression, in line with the provisions of the ECHR and the rulings of the ECtHR.

Furthermore, the temporary suspension of publications indicated in Article 6 (Announcement and Publication) of the Anti-Terror Law has been repealed.

With the Fourth Judicial Reform Package currently in preparation, important amendments to enhance the standards of human rights are envisaged, in particular in the area of the freedom of press and freedom of expression.

Law No. 6352

 


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