Turkish users keep on talking about the Internet censorship. But the most controversial part of the new law about the Internet, which allows specific sites to be blocked without justice’s approval, may be amended.
Turkish President Abdullah Gül almost immediately lost 80,000 followers on his Twitter account in protest of the green light he gave on February 18th on the law strengthening internet control.
Turkish President is quite active on social networks and announced unexpectedly on Twitter that he enacted the “draconian” law as judged by the opposition and many NGOs defending freedom of expression.
Since then, Turkish users have launched a campaign to stop following the President, who said he took this decision after being assured that the government would introduce amendments to the text on several controversial issues.
Turkey has 34 million internet users. The original bill discussed in parliament on February 5th created much reaction from the opposition and Turkish organizations defending human rights.
They all talked about censorship and accused the government of trying to go beyond the corruption charges which have been splashing the Prime Minister Erdogan and his government in the last few months.
The Erdogan government immediately offered to parties represented in the Parliament to amend the text on its most criticized parts, which granted the government authority Telecommunications (TIB) the right to block websites without a justice decision.
Now, the proposed amendment requires the TIB to communicate its decision to block a website to a court : the later will have 48 hours to take its decision, otherwise the request to block a website shall be canceled.
For many years, Turkey has been classified by Reporters Without Borders as a country “under surveillance” because of its cyber-censorship policies. It is ranked 154th out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
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