News

June 30, 2010 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Campaign in defence of online free expression


Reporters Without Borders welcomes an offensive against the Turkish government’s repressive Internet polices by organisations that defend online free expression. In the latest move, the Association of Internet Technologies filed a complaint on 28 June accusing the authorities of “illegally” restricting access to the video-sharing website YouTube. The association filed a similar complaint on 8 June about the fact that access to several other Google services including Google Maps has been rendered difficult or impossible. Last year, the association brought a complaint against the Turkish state before the European Commission on Human Rights over the blocking of YouTube, which began in 2008. A coalition of 30 organisations including Cyber-Rights.Org.TR (http://privacy.cyber-rights.org.tr/), Internet Teknolojileri Derneği - INETD (http://www.inetd.org.tr/), Bağımsız İletişim Ağı - Bianet (http://bianet.org/) and SansüreSansür (http://sansuresansur.org/) released a statement on 23 June affirming their opposition to online censorship and calling for the repeal of Law 5661 on Internet crimes. Reporters Without Borders supports this initiative. “More and more websites are being blocked while online journalists continue to be prosecuted. Turkey is without doubt one of the countries that has been most cited of late when concern is expressed about Internet censorship, above all because of Law 5651, which has been used to close thousands of sites and hurt the county’s image.” Claiming that Law 5651 violates both the 1982 constitution and the principles of the European Court of Human Rights, the coalition is calling for a clearly-worded law that can be used to crack down on paedophile content without being misused for political purposes. In their joint statement, the organisations also say that Osman Nihat Sen, the head of the Internet department at the High Council for Telecommunications (TIB), Tayfun Acarer, the head of the Council for Knowledge and Communication Technologies, and Binali Yildirim, the transport and commnication minister, should all be fired if they continue to violate the constitution. Dunja Mijatovic, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s media freedom representative, issued a very firmly-worded request on 22 June to the Turkish authorities to restore access to YouTube and other Google services and to amend Turkey’s Internet legislation so that it conforms to international standards as regards free expression. An Ankara magistrate’s court ruled on 17 June that certain content available on Google services on 3 June was illegal. Journalist Adnan Demir and human rights defender Sebnem Korur Fincanci are meanwhile being prosecuted over an online interview denouncing impunity in torture cases. The trial has been postponed until 13 October.