Friday, 5 February 2010

OSCE Asks Turkey To Change The Laws Allowing Internet Blocking

27 January, 2010 

OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Media Freedom representative Miklos Haraszti asked the Turkish Government on 18 January to change their Internet law in order to observe OSCE commitments and other international standards protecting freedom of expression.
A survey commissioned by Haraszti's office, analyzing Turkey's Internet Law in force since 2007, has shown that based on the respective law, the Turkish authorities were able to block the access to Internet of about 3700 websites. These sites included foreign websites such as YouTube, Geocities, DailyMotion and Google, blocked by court orders and administrative blocking orders issued by the Telecommunications Communication Presidency (TIB).
The study also shows a lack of transparency in relation to the blocking orders issued either by the court or TIB and the fact that TIB has not made public the blocking statistics since May 2009.
"The impact of the current regime and related deficiencies are wide, affecting not only the freedom to speak and receive information, but also the right for blocked websites to receive a fair trial," says the study.
In his statement to the Turkish authorities, Haraszti said: "In its current form, Law 5651, commonly known as the Internet Law of Turkey, not only limits freedom of expression, but severely restricts citizens' right to access information."
Haraszti believes that even is some of the content of the blocked sites is considered bad such as child pornography, the law is not fit to sanction it. "Instead, by blocking access to entire websites from Turkey, it paralyzes access to numerous modern file-sharing or social networks."
OSCE representative considers that some of the reasons for blocking sites are "arbitrary and political, and therefore incompatible with OSCE's freedom of expression commitments." He also said that the Turkish law was failing to safeguard freedom of expression and criminal code clauses were used against journalists who risked ending up in jail.
The main recommendation of OSCE is therefore to reform or abolish the Turkish Internet Law. "I hope that the Turkish authorities will soon remove the blocking provisions that prevent Turkish citizens from being part of today's global information society," stated Haraszti
Report of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media on Turkey and Internet Censorship (11.01.2010)
Turkey blocking 3,700 websites, reform needed: OSCE (18.01.2010)
OSCE Press release- Turkey's Internet law needs to be reformed or abolished, says OSCE media freedom representative(18.01.2010)

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