Access has been blocked in Turkey to MySpace and Last FM, two of the world's largest websites for socializing. The decision to block the two internet portals and also the Turkish site AkıllıTv.com ('Smart TV) was taken by the Public Prosecutor's Office of Beyoğlu, a centrally located district of Istanbul. It was not authorized by the Supreme Council Telecommunication.
The decision was dated 26 June, however, the Beyoğlu public prosecutor's office did not explain why access to the websites was blocked with a delay of almost 3 months on 20 September. According to the prosecutor's office, the decision was a result of a court case filed by the Association of Interconnected Ownership Right Phonogram Producers (MÜYAP).
Users who wanted to access the sites in the past days had to read the following announcement: "Access has been blocked to this site due to a court decision. Access is denied by decision no. 2009/45 of the Turkish Republic Beyoğlu Public Prosecutor's Office, dated 26.06.2009."
The Turkish website "sansuresansur.org" ('censor to censorship') prompted internet users on their website not to accept the bans without a word of protest. Musician Aylin Aslım wrote the following on her facebook site:
"Blocking access to myspace.com is serious injustice to independent musicians in Turkey. We do not want to be forced to return to music channels and record companies with their filthy politics. We want our music to be available freely to everybody who wants to listen to it".
According to Turkish daily Hürriyet Newspaper, the complaint had been filed by MÜYAP. Yet, the MÜYAP related website does not mention the issue at all.
On the day the blockage was effected, MÜYAP published a news item on its website entitled "Turkey on rank 7 in Europe concerning blockages". The news starts as below:
"In comparison with other European countries internet users in Turkey spend more time in the internet and access a larger number of web pages".
Mehmet Tez from Milliyet daily newspaper commented the blockage on his own web page hafifmusik.org ('light music'): "Well done! A great success. Turkey is proud of you".
Myspace is one of the world's biggest sites of socializing and music sharing. Many artists communicate with their fans in their personalized section of myspace and share their music releases for free.
Last FM is a web based radio site where the members can create their own program by using their personal archives. Other users can also listen to those personalized programs. Users are being charged if they exceed a certain limit. Some record companies and artists share their music on this site.
Akıllı TV is one of Turkey's interactive video-sharing sites. There is also a TV channel with the same name.
Access to youtube.com has been blocked for 16 months now on the grounds of "contents contrary to Atatürk". After the ban of youtube.com other sites like blogspot.com and dailymotion.com were censored as well. Access to geocities.com is still blocked. (BÇ/VK)