Turkey: Violating online free speech

turkey_myspaceTurkey, a modern democracy which takes pride in staying secular despite intense pressure from Islamic fundamentalists, unfortunately is actively engaged in curtailing online free speech.

Since September 18,2009 MySpace, a popular social networking site and Last FM-where you can listen to free music, has been blocked in the country for alleged copyright and intellectual protery right violations.

According to Reporters Sans Frontières,

“Copyright is often used as grounds for censoring the Internet,”

Turkey's decision to censor the internet could affect its relations with the European Union because

“Disconnecting access to a website on the orders of a prosecutor rather a judge is a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, which Turkey has signed.”

Decision to block MySpace is not first step in Turkey's decision to police the internet. In 2008, blog host Blogger(owned by Google),popular video sharing site YouTube and about 850 sites were banned, according to a report published at The Christian science Monitor.

Decision to ban YouTube came after an “insulting” video on the country's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk appeared on the site.

In The Christian Science Monitor report, Turkish transportation minister defends the country's decision to police the internet

“The fight against elements that aim at degenerating societies and poisoning the youth and children is the fundamental task of each country. Every country has different regulations related to the Internet,”

To learn more about freedom of speech in Turkey, especially how an article in the country's penal code affects citizen's right to freedom of expression, here is a report by Press TV's Jody Sabral (recorded on 8th May,2008).

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