Turkish internet site owners shut down websites to protest censor

23 Ağustos 2008 - 11:42:11

Around 500 websites closed themselves to protest the increasing censorship over the Internet, which blocked access to more than 800 websites, including popular YouTube from Turkey.

A Turkish court has blocked the access to YouTube because of the insulting videos about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, in May. 

 

The protests had turned into a concrete action last week when more than 400 websites and blogs had temporarily shut themselves down.

 

It does not take much effort to get a website banned in Turkey. Courts can close websites for eight different crimes, including child pornography, insulting Ataturk, and encouraging suicide, according to Article 5651 of the Penal Code.

 

The real problem here is seen as the fact that any formal complaint failed to a lower court can result in a ruling to block the website.

 

YouTube has become the symbol of the cyber censorship in Turkey as access to the site is frequently blocked due to its hosting videos insulting Ataturk.

 

Although access to those videos is forbidden in Turkey, it is possible to view them by changing proxy settings.

 

The prosecutor's office also demands the videos be removed from the site. For this, YouTube would have to open a representative office in Turkey, obtain necessary permits and pay taxes.

 

YouTube has refused so far to open such an office, arguing that it is not a Turkish firm and it is not necessary for it to be subject to Turkish law.

 

 

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