2631) Turkish Bloggers Are Furious - "Work Under Way To Remove Unwanted Web Site Content" Yildirim - Blogger Ban Is Over, Temporarily

The Court Case is still in progress in Turkey. Ban was lifted temporarily due to lack of evidence. And could be banned again.
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Turkish Bloggers Are Furious
Bia News Center - Diyarbakir 27-10-2008 Erol ÖNDEROĞLU
After Youtube.com, Wordpress and Googe Groups, now a well-known blog service blogger.com has been banned in Turkey. No change seems to be coming in internet censorship.

The 1st Criminal Court of First Instance of Diyarbakır has banned the well-known blog service blogger.com. .

The decision came after Digiturk TV Platform Company filed a compliant about some internet sites broadcasting scenes from soccer games over which the Digituk has the sole right.

Blogger.com was banned upon complaint by Digiturk

Thousands of internet users are being met by the statement “Access to this web site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2008/2761 of T.R. Diyarbakır 1st Criminal Court of Peace”.

With the same decision the blog provider blogspot.com was banned, too.

In the past year, 1112 sites have been banned

In Turkey where access to a global video sharing site youtube.com has been banned for six months now, blogger.com of Google Corporation may meet the same fate as well.

The measures against websites are being taken under article 8 of Law 5651 on online publications and the fight against cyber-crime, which was adopted on 4 May 2007 and took effect in November 2007.

In Turkey, internet sites are banned if their content is deemed harmful to children, encourage use of drugs, gambling, prostitution, dangerous elements for health, pornography, suicide and contain insults against Atatürk, founder of Turkey.

1112 internet sites, among them YouTube, as well, has been banned in Turkey.

Among those banned are Dailymotion.com, geocities.com, Prof. Richard Dawkins' richarddawkins.net, turandursun.com, anarsist.com and devrimciler.org.

Wordpress and Google Groups were banned before, but are now open.

In May 2007, twenty non-governmental organizations that are expert in telecommunications had declared that the Law of 5651, passed on May 4, 2007, had many problems as far as the freedom of expression was concerned, giving the bureaucracy the authority to censor any internet site without a trial.

In a joint declaration, the Association for the Software Profession (BİYESAM), the Informatics Reporters Association (BMD), the Linux Users Association (LKD), the Informatics Foundation of Turkey (TBV) and the Association for the Informatics Sector (TÜBİDER) had demanded a while ago protection of the freedom of expression against the bureaucratic authority to censor without trial. (EÖ/TB)

Yildirim: Work Under Way To Remove Unwanted Web Site Content
Transportation Minister Binali has said the government is looking into ways to block unwanted pages of Web sites instead of banning the site as a whole.

“We currently lack the ability to remove [only the] problematic content of Web sites, but will soon be able to. Our fight against undesired elements on the Internet will be limited to Web site content deemed problematic. Our judges will soon be briefed on the technology,” he said yesterday.

Binali’s remarks came in the aftermath of harsh criticism from Turkish Internet users following the banning of popular blog-hosting services blogspot.com and blogger.com. Access to these sites was suspended on Friday in accordance with a decision of the Diyarbakır 1st Criminal Court of Peace. The court later announced that access to these services was blocked upon a complaint by Lig TV, the founding broadcaster of the Turkcell Super League. According to the complaint, the two blog-hosting services were enabling their users to watch soccer matches without any subscription to the TV station.

Several associations and activists advocating freedom of speech and expression heavily criticized the court for blocking access to the whole Web site instead of solely screening out unwanted content.

“The fight against elements that aim at degenerating societies and poisoning the youth and children is the fundamental task of each country. Every country has different regulations related to the Internet. Our aim is not to ban Web sites. Such measures will come to an end as soon as our courts are able to ban problematic content instead of entire Web sites,” went on to say.

More than 1,100 Web sites have been blocked in Turkey since November 2007. Web sites are most often banned on grounds of insulting the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, containing vulgarity, enabling gambling or promoting suicide. Many sites have also been banned for crimes covered under the Internet Security Law, but a number of sites are banned for no apparent reason.

Voices have grown louder against restrictions on Internet freedom, particularly following a ban on the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube. YouTube was banned by a controversial court decision in May 2008 for broadcasting videos deemed insulting to Atatürk and the concept of Turkishness, a sensitive issue in Turkey.

Other countries known to frequently ban Web sites include China, Iran, Armenia, Tunisia, Indonesia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

“Some Web sites, unfortunately, use their global popularity and show reluctance in complying with Turkish laws and regulations. If they say: ‘I am YouTube or Facebook, no one can interfere in my affairs. I am popular with the whole world,’ then we cannot let them do whatever they wish. Every Web site can operate in our country provided it obeys the rules and avoids committing or promoting crime,” remarked.

Despite widespread discontent with the ban and the emergence of alternate methods to access the site, the ban on YouTube remains in place. Zaman


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