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Turkish Court Blacks Out YouTube

Insulting the country’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, is a crime in Turkey punishable by prison.

ISTANBUL, Turkey—Four college students on Thursday asked a Turkish court to revoke the ban it imposed on YouTube for running videos that prosecutors said insulted the founder of modern Turkey.

The group condemned the videos in question but said blocking access to the Web site violated their rights to free speech, the private Turkish news agency Dogan reported.

“Banning access to the Web site does not punish those who did that (posted the videos) but the citizens of the Turkish republic,” said student Kursat Cetinkoz, reading from a petition the group submitted to the court in Istanbul.

[...]

Turk Telekom, the country’s largest telecommunications provider, immediately began enforcing the ban Wednesday. Those who tried to access the YouTube site from Turkey encountered the message: “Access to this site has been blocked by a court decision!...”

The court—acting on a petition from Turk Telekom—ruled later Wednesday that it would revoke the ban as soon as it ascertained that the offending videos had been removed from YouTube. YouTube is owned by internet search engine giant Google.

From the Chicago Tribune.

I suppose there is a historical reason for the ban on insulting ‘Turkishness’, but I don’t know what it is, or how one could justify punishing the insults with a court case and possible prison time. I know (or at least, I believe I know) that in Germany it is illegal to deny the Holocaust - am not sure if there are prison consequences attached to that, nor am I sure that I agree with the law itself. But, then, I’m not German and that is no doubt a very sensitive issue for them. From what I understand, however, neo Nazi groups flourish in spite of the law.

Anyway, though… the situations are not analogous because in Turkey, it was the Armenians who were the victims of the genocide.

Google/YouTube did take the video down, by the way, after apparently thousands of letters of complaint.


Posted by Nanette on 03/08 at 05:17 PM
HumanRightsIntheNewsPolitics
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