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OSCE asks Turkey to change the laws allowing Internet blocking

EDRI-Gram Newsletter had an interesting piece of news about Internet censorship in Turkey. Please, find it below:

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)
http://www.osce.org/documents/rfm/2010/01/42294_en.pdf

Turkey blocking 3,700 websites, reform needed: OSCE (18.01.2010)
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60H2WJ20100118? type=technolo...

OSCE Press release- Turkey's Internet law needs to be reformed or abolished,
says OSCE media freedom representative(18.01.2010)
http://www.osce.org/fom/item_1_42372.htmlf

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