(RoyalPatriot.com )- Three Turkish YouTube personalities were arrested on Sunday after conducting “man-on-the-street” interviews asking people to share their concerns over Turkey’s economy as the country’s currency continues to weaken.
The YouTubers tweeted that they were interviewing people on the streets to make sure their voices were heard amid the reports that the value of the Turkish lira dropped 40 percent since September to an all-time low.
Hasan Köksoy, who runs the YouTube channel Kendine Muhabir tweeted Monday that he was dragged from his bed “like a terrorist” and arrested for interviewing the public.
In a live stream on Kendine Muhabir filmed on Monday, Hasan Köksoy said his house was raided and his family’s phones and computers were seized.
Also arrested were Arif Kocabiyik and Turan Kural. A fourth YouTuber, Mehmet Koyuncu, was contacted by the police as well but was not placed under arrest.
In a tweet on Monday, Koyuncu said he and his fellow journalists were trying “to make the voice of the people on the street heard in the palace.” He vowed that they would not be silenced, but would continue speaking out for “those who spend the night hungry!”
According to Turkey Purge, a local news outlet that monitors human rights abuses in the country, the three YouTubers were accused of “denigrating the state and government.”
Erol Onderoglu, the Turkish representative for Reporters Sans Frontieres (reporters without borders) told the UK Independent that while YouTubers and journalists could use some training on how to avoid breaking local laws while conducting interviews, there is a clear public interest in hearing the concerns of people on the street.
Recently, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called social media one of the “main sources of threats to today’s democracy.” And to “fight disinformation and propaganda,” Erdogan threatened that he would begin cracking down on social media users with up to five years in prison.
Currently, there are 72 journalists in prison in Turkey and another 89 awaiting trial.
All three YouTubers have been released from jail and are now under house arrest.