Pirate Party alerts: More internet censorship in Turkey underway!

This is a heads-up text from Pirate Party of Turkey on the new wave of censorship that is underway. News not to be too cheerful about, I am afraid:
A re-fashioned Internet Censorship Bill is about to be proposed.
The question is, ARE YOU READY FOR IT? #sansuredurde (#SayNo2Censorship)In order to increase censorship and surveillance online,  the Turkish government is proposing changes to the Law No 5651, otherwise known as “ Code of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes Committed by means of Such Publication .”This does not bode well for the freedom of speech online. The proposed changes ensure that censorship will become ever more present in the future with the amendment to Law No: 5651. You can expect the following:

·        New methods of blocking “harmful” content will be implemented. Rather than censoring the entire website, these methods will target the direct URL of infringing sites.

·        Content that “denigrates particular sections of the society on account of social status, race, religion, sect, gender, region of origin” will be treated as a crime that warrants censorship.

·        The Internet Service Providers will be required to keep track of personal data and conduct sweeping surveillance on behalf of the government.

·        The new blocking methods will make it impossible to access the censored content by merely changing DNS settings.

·        The changes bear the possibility to outlaw any blogs in Turkey other than food, fashion, and travel blogs. Those that include political commentary in particular will be suspect.

·        New regulations will harm the Internet Service Providers who will, then, likely move their operations outside of Turkey.

·        Social media sites that our Prime Minister has characterized as “Menace called Twitter” and “Ugly technology Facebook” will be censored much easier.

·        Citizen journalism and independent media will be hit hardest.

Since the likely changes that this amendment will bring are against the spirit of the Internet as we see it, we as the Turkish Pirate Party, have penned a declaration that denounces this particular law and the proposed changes to it. We invite you to read the entire declaration and, if possible, support it. Stakes cannot be any higher.

For these reasons we the Pirate Party of Turkey have prepared a detailed declaration in Turkish to announce that we do not recognize the existing Law no 5651 and the bill to reform this law. You can read full text of the declaration online and support our cause.

Perchance our evaluations are not considered, necessary reforms to law be made and the currently discussed reform bill is passed to be made into law; we hereby declare that we do not recognize the concerned Law No. 5651 in light of the European Court of Human Rights, Constitution of the Republic of Turkey and international rule of law, and we serve notice to Turkish and world public opinion on censorship intentions as well as notifying and informing the current government of the Republic of Turkey.

Do you agree?

Share #SansureDurDe (#SayNo2Censorship) after reading this declaration.

You can share the pdf version of this short declaration in English from here.


About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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