Carlos Ghosn’s lawyers release statement slamming Nissan inquiry

Carlos Ghosn says the investigation has not been fair. (File/AFP)
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Updated 08 January 2020

Carlos Ghosn’s lawyers release statement slamming Nissan inquiry

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s defense team outside of Japan has shared a statement with local media questioning the car manufacturer’s motives in the ex-CEO’s investigation.

His lawyers’ statement questioned the credibility of Nissan’s claim that it conducted “a robust, thorough internal investigation”

“Rather, the facts demonstrate that investigation was never about finding the truth; it was initiated and carried out for the specific, predetermined purpose of taking down Carlos Ghosn to prevent him from further integrating Nissan and Renault, which threatened the independence of Nissan, one of Japan’s iconic, flagship companies,” the statement continued.

And he said an executive member of Nissan was in charge of putting over this message.

“No reputable company continues to employ as a senior trusted executive, an individual who pled guilty to a crime, much less permit that individual to conduct the investigation of the very conduct in which he was directly involved.”

The statement went on to question the independence of the investigation and added: “Although the supposedly ‘robust, thorough internal investigation’ purportedly found evidence of wrongdoing by Carlos Ghosn, it failed to discover evidence of Saikawa’s wrongdoing, which surfaced only after statements by Greg Kelly.”

The statement added that “Nissan never once sought to interview Carlos Ghosn concerning the matters under investigation, and even to this date has failed to share with Ghosn or the public the reports of the investigation or the evidence against him it purported to find.”

Ghosn is set to hold a press conference with about 50 media organizations Wednesday afternoon in Beirut.

Arab News contacted Nissan and asked for a response to Ghosn’s claims, and was referred to a statement it published the day before his lawyers spoke out.

The Nissan statement concluded: “The company will continue to take appropriate legal action to hold Ghosn accountable for the harm that his misconduct has caused to Nissan.”


Turkey tightens control on social media platforms

Updated 15 min 9 sec ago

Turkey tightens control on social media platforms

  • Failure to comply with the requirements could shrink their access by Turkish users by up to 95 percent

ISTANBUL: Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will be legally bound to appoint a formal representative in Turkey under a new draft law that will be brought to the country’s parliament soon.

The bill is initially designed for the government’s fight against the spread of the coronavirus, but it covers clauses about social media restrictions.

According to the experts, if adopted, this bill will pave the way for exercising government pressure on the platforms.

Failure to comply with the requirements could shrink their access by Turkish users by up to 95 percent. The social media platforms are also obliged to share users’ information with the prosecutors’ office when required.

They will also have to execute decisions coming from the criminal courts for “content removal” and/or “access denial” without any exception. Even individuals may apply to state authorities to ask the platforms to remove content. The platforms could be fined up to 1 million Turkish lira if they do not comply with the request within 24 hours.

It is still unclear whether news outlets with social media sites will also have to abide by these requirements.

Last August, the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) was officially granted the authority to regulate and monitor online platforms, including series on digital TV platforms such as Netflix, news broadcasts on YouTube and social media platforms delivering news on a regular basis. Those broadcasting online were obliged to get a license first from RTUK. According to that legislation, overseas companies who broadcast in Turkey on the internet are also required to establish a company and obtain a license.

Dr. Sarphan Uzunoglu, a scholar at Istanbul’s Kadir Has University and editor in chief of NewsLabTurkey.org, said it had long been the wish of the Turkish government to keep Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Twitter — as some of the most-used social networks in the country — under control.

“This new draft that will be brought to the parliament is a concrete step toward making Turkey’s digital sphere more controllable than ever for the government,” he told Arab News.

According to Uzunoglu, it is natural that Twitter, Facebook, Google and others are questioned by governments worldwide due to their financial activities and uncontrolled flow of money worldwide.

“Some responsible governments and politicians always question this shady feature of social networks. However, unfortunately, Turkey is not one of these countries or Turkish politicians aren’t the kind of politicians that think (about) the privacy of individuals. All they want is clearly a person who will be like an ambassador for the brand in their country whom they can get in touch with on a regular basis,” he said.

The bill also requires that all data about Turkish social media users be stored in Turkey.

Uzunoglu thinks that the daily routine of such a representative will not be very different from the life of the US ambassador in the time of crisis between US and Turkey.

“The only difference is, the government will try to keep this person and social network for everything in the platform. So that will be a disaster for both the operation of the social platform and the democracy of the country. And unlike an ambassador, the national law system in Turkey will be imposed on them. So, Facebook or Twitter won’t be different from any other web site active in Turkey,” he said.

Turkey has also increased control over social media during the coronavirus outbreak. More than 400 people have been arrested for “provocative” posts on their social media accounts about the virus.

Turkey has blocked access to social media platforms several times in the recent past, especially after the military deployments to Syria.

As social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter host the remaining free-speech platforms and provide an alternative information flow, Uzunoglu thinks that being forced to give away data about their users will be an attack on individual privacy.

“This definitely shows that the government is living in a completely different reality, or they imagine to live in a completely different world,” he said.

Uzunoglu also drew attention to the problematic timing of the move, especially under the extraordinary conditions caused by COVID-19.

“Just think about the Internet freedom related activism of the early 2010s when people went into the streets for the first time to protect Internet freedom. Comparing it to the self-isolation period that we are experiencing right now, it would be naive to think that it is just coincidental,” he said.