• Press Release

Turkey: Mass blocking of social media and news sites is full-frontal attack on freedom of expression

Following news of a decision by an Ankara court to block 136 web addresses including that of independent news website Bianet.org, Amnesty International’s Turkey Campaigner, Milena Buyum, said:

“This scandalous decision is the latest full-frontal assault on the right to freedom of expression in Turkey and signals a deepening of an already restrictive state of censorship.”

This scandalous decision is the latest full-frontal assault on the right to freedom of expression in Turkey and signals a deepening of an already restrictive state of censorship
Milena Buyum, Amnesty International

“In a single ruling, the court in Ankara has blocked more than one hundred web addresses without any justification as to why this is necessary or proportionate. One of those targeted is Bianet, one of the few remaining independent news portals left in Turkey, which has continued fearlessly reporting on human rights abuses throughout the media crackdown.

This decision should be overturned and the Turkish authorities must end their suffocating crackdown on the ever shrinking number of independent voices
Milena Buyum, Amnesty International

“This decision should be overturned and the Turkish authorities must end their suffocating crackdown on the ever shrinking number of independent voices."

Background:

Some of the web addresses listed in the decision are already blocked, such as geziyisavunuyoruz.org, which was reporting on the Gezi Park trial that began on 24 June 2019.

Bianet.org is one of the few remaining independent news outlets in Turkey which has also continued reporting on human rights violations. The decision blocks access to the whole website.

Bianet.org, which was informed of the court’s 16 July decision today, told Amnesty International that it is preparing to lodge an appeal.

The Court’s decision is based on the Law on Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes Committed by means of Such Publication (widely known as the Internet Law of Turkey – Law No. 5651). It refers to the Article 8/A of the law, which allows for the blocking of websites on grounds of protection of the right to life and security of people and property, national security and public order, prevention of crimes or protection of general health on the request of relevant ministries or the Presidency. However, the decision does not provide any justification as to how any of the adresses listed in the decision fall under this provision.

For more information or for an interview contact stefan.simanowitz@amnesty.org  +44 2030365599