Turkey extends the censorship of YouTube

By EDRi · June 16, 2010

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Türkei weitet Zensur von YouTube aus | http://www.unwatched.org/node/2000]

Macedonian: [Турција ја проширува цензурата на YouTube | http://www.metamorphosis.org.mk/turcija-ja-proshiruva-cenzurata-na-youtube.html]

So far, Turkey does not seem to be impressed by the criticism against its
censorship policy regarding Internet content and blocking of websites.

On 4 June 2010, the High Council for Telecommunications reported having
asked ISPs to block additional YouTube-linked IP addresses and since then,
Turkish Internet users have had problems accessing Google services such as
Google Analytics, Google Translate, Google AdWords or Google Docs.

The Turkish authorities have been blocking access to YouTube since May 2008
because of videos considered to be insulting for Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the
Turkish republic’s founder.

Reporters Without Borders added Turkey to the list of “countries under
surveillance” in its report on “Enemies of the Internet,” issued in March

“It is time the Turkish authorities demonstrated their commitment to free
expression by putting an end to the censorship that affects thousands of
websites in Turkey and by overhauling Law 5651 on the Internet, which allows
this sort of mass blocking of sites,” stated the group.

The Turkish president expressed his disapproval to the measures taken by his
country: “I do not want Turkey to be included among the countries that ban
YouTube and prevent access to Google. (….) If there are problems due to
our legislation, there should be ways to overcome that,” he said.

Google, in its turn, told The Register that it believed its services were
banned accidentally and that it would work with the Turkish authorities to
solve the issue. “The difficulty accessing some Google services in Turkey
appears to be linked to the ongoing ban on YouTube. We are working to get
our services back up as soon as possible,” says a company statement.

Reporters Without Borders also signalled a worrying situation created by the
existence of the Turkish law on Internet. Based on the law, Yörsan, a
privately-owned dairy products company, is threatening to sue the news
website EmekDunyasi.net if it does not withdraw some old articles that
presented the company in a bad light.

According to the present law, the site could be closed if it refuses to take
down the respective reports and the owners of the site may even go to
prison. Article 9 of Law 5651 says: “Anyone who believes their rights are
being violated may ask the content provider to withdraw the offending
content (…) The content provider or access provider must carry out this
request within two days. If the request is refused, the matter can be
referred to a police court within 15 days (…) If the court so rules, the
penalty for offenders is from six months to two years in prison.”

EmekDunyasi.net netly refused to comply with Yörsan’s request: “If this
company is so attached to its brand value, it should respect the union
rights that are guaranteed by the constitution.”

“This kind of judicial blackmail is a real problem. (…) Few journalists
dare to criticise private sector companies or financial groups for fear of
reprisals. We urge the Turkish courts not to tolerate Yörsan’s censorship
attempt, which could set a dangerous precedent for the online media,” stated
Reporters Without Borders.

Blockage of YouTube spreads to Google services (7.06.2010)

Turkish prez tw*ts YouTube ban – Executive Tweet frowns on Google snuff

Food company tries to censor news website’s old reports about union dispute

Turkey bans Google Books, Google Docs, Google Translate… – Collateral
damage from YouTube snuff? (8.06.2010)

EDRi-gram: OSCE asks Turkey to change the laws allowing Internet blocking