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Turkey9 June 2008

YouTube blocked for more than a month is an “unacceptable” act of censorship

(PNG) The blocking of access to the video-sharing website YouTube in Turkey since 5 May as a result of orders issued by three Ankara magistrate courts is “unacceptable,” Reporters Without Borders said today

“YouTube is not the only file-sharing site that is blocked in Turkey,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Official decisions of this kind to censor the Internet constitute serious violations of freedom of expression and information. Turkish Internet users can no longer share their videos with the outside world or view other people’s videos. We reiterate our appeal to the authorities to act judiciously by asking YouTube to remove the offending videos. Blocking the entire site is unacceptable.”

An Ankara magistrate court issued orders on 24 and 30 April for the blocking of YouTube without giving its grounds for these decisions. Another Ankara magistrate court issued a similar order on 5 May.

(JPEG) YouTube representatives have said the website’s editors have taken the necessary steps to withdraw the offending videos that appear to have prompted these decisions.

The photo-sharing website Slide has been inaccessible since 25 March as a result of a court’s decision in Çivril (southwest of Ankara) that was prompted by “photos and articles considered insulting to Atatürk.” Google Groups, Google’s discussion site, has been inaccessible since 10 April as a result of an action brought by religious leader Adnan Oktar claiming he was defamed in comments posted on the site.

Law 5651 on “the organisation of online publications and combatting offences committed by means of such publications,” in force since November 2007, enables prosecutors to block access to websites within 24 hours if their content is deemed liable to incite suicide, pedophilia, drug usage, obscenity or prostitution or violate a law forbidding any attacks on the memory of the Turkish republic’s founder, Atatürk.

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