Prosecutors violate online free expression to protect copyright

first_img TurkeyEurope – Central Asia October 12, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Prosecutors violate online free expression to protect copyright News Organisation Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor News Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit News RSF_en Receive email alerts to go furthercenter_img Follow the news on Turkey Reporters Without Borders welcomes the unblocking of the social-networking website MySpace and the video-sharing website on 6 October after their representatives resolved disputes with the Turkish Record Industry Association. Two other websites that refuse to comply with the association’s demands, and YouTube, continue to be blocked.A total of 1,309 websites have been rendered inaccessible by the Telecommunications Directorate since November 2007 as a result of an administrative decision or, in 270 of these cases, as a result of a judicial decision.“It is unacceptable that an administrative authority alone can decide to block a website,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Freedom of expression is extremely important. When it is at stake, the intervention of a judge should be necessary. Only a court decision is legitimate. We therefore call for the immediate unblocking of all the censored websites.”They have been blocked under Law 5651 on “the organisation of online publications and combating offences committed by means of such publications.” It allows prosecutors to block access if a site’s content is deemed liable to incite suicide, paedophilia, drug abuse, obscenity or prostitution, or violate a 1951 law forbidding any attacks on the Turkish republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.Banning sites of a pornographic or paedophile nature or those that promote drug abuse is obviously justifiable but banning sites (or any other communication medium) because of content that is in some way critical of Atatürk violates free expression. As Atatürk is dead, he cannot be deemed to have sustained moral damage.If the aim is to punish attacks on what Atatürk represents as founder of the country’s institutions, Turkey should remember that, as a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights, it cannot punish the expression of views just because they clash or conflict with mainstream opinion. It must tolerate all views, including political ones, as well as criticism of the state (European Court of Human Rights, Handyside v. UK, December 1976).Rather than offering porn or promoting drug abuse, many of the 1,039 blocked websites are social-networking sites, or places where Internet users can go to read about or discuss matters of a political or cultural nature.In Turkey, 65% of the population never had access to Internet. Turkey is ranked 102nd out of 173 countries in the 2008 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.———————————————————————23.09.2009 – Prosecutors violate online free expression to protect copyrightThe social networking website MySpace has been blocked in Turkey since 19 September over a copyright dispute. Anyone trying to visit the site sees a message saying access has been blocked by order 2009/45, issued on 26 June by the prosecutor of the Istanbul district of Beyoglu. Two other sites, and, have been blocked by the same order.“Copyright is often used as grounds for censoring the Internet,” Reporters Without Borders said. “But blocking websites is a disproportionate sanction that violates online free expression. “Withdrawing the content that violates copyright would suffice. Censorship is a common reflex in Turkey and we condemn it strongly.”Yaman Akdeniz, a law professor at Istanbul’s Bilgi University, told Reporters Without Borders: “Measures are taken against the Internet as if this was still the era of the dinosaurs.”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.Many European countries, including France, are look at the possibility of suspending the Internet connections of those who illegally download content protected by copyright. While the desire to protect literary and artistic creation is understandable, Reporters Without Borders believes such measures would constitute an unacceptable restriction of online freedom of expression.The press freedom organisation urges the Turkish government to amend law 5651 governing offenses committed online in order to reconcile it with the need to respect free expression in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights.The video-sharing website YouTube has been inaccessible since May 2008 in Turkey, which is ranked 102nd out of 173 countries in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. April 28, 2021 Find out more TurkeyEurope – Central Asia Help by sharing this information Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law April 2, 2021 Find out more News April 2, 2021 Find out morelast_img