The Turkish branch of the International Writers’ Union PEN, the Turkish Writers’ Trade Union (TYS) , the Association of People of Letters (ED) and the Turkish Publishers’ Union (TYB) have released a shared statement in which they express their worry about the degree of Internet censorship:
“In our country, the degree of censorship applied to different Internet sites, particularly Youtube, is worrying. We writers’ and publishers’ organisations, who support the freedom of expression and communication, oppose this anti-democratic attitude.”
"Let our dark past not return"
The statement, published on 2 April, further read, “Our country, which has enough problems with democracy, should not be taken back to the level of non-democratic countries.”
The organisations pointed out that this censoring attitude could lead to more closing of and banning of access to sites:
“Let us not allow our dark past, which was filled with the banning, confiscation and destruction of books, to return from the dead with such institutions and rules.”
RSF also condemns Internet censorship
The international Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has condemned the blocking of access to the Istanbul-based independent news website Indymedia ( http://istanbul.indymedia.org). The site has been inaccessible from within Turkey since 21 March 2008. A message was posted saying it was blocked on the orders of a military court attached to general staff headquarters.
"This decision is disproportionate," Reporters without Borders said. "Why block an entire site when the offending content could be removed? We urge the authorities to provide an explanation for this exaggerated measure and we ask them to take account of the freedom of expression of Internet users and their right to news and information."
The measures against websites are being taken under article 8 of Law 5651 on online publications and the fight against cyber-crime, which was adopted on 4 May 2007 and took effect in November 2007. Websites accused of insulting Atatürk may be rendered completely inaccessible during the entire time required to conduct a judicial investigation.
Gündem and ANF cannot be read
Meanwhile, access to the Gündem newspaper website and the Europe-based Firat News Agency (ANF) is still blocked following court decisions.
People trying to access the Gündem newspaper on its ozgurgundem.org website find the following statement:
“Access to this web site is banned by "Telekomünikasyon Iletisim Baskanligi" according to the order of: Ankara 11. Agir Ceza Mahkemesi (Heavy Penal Court), 20/03/2008 of 2008/1754"
The same court also blocked access to ANF’s firatnews.eu website on 8 February. (EÖ/GG/AG)
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