The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a human rights watchdog, called on Turkey today to reform or abolish its restrictive Internet policy.
"At present, 3,700 Internet sites are blocked in Turkey, including YouTube, GeoCities, and Google sites," said Miklos Haraszti, an OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.
"Even as some of the content that is deemed ‘bad’, such as child pornography, must be sanctioned, the law is unfit to achieve this. Instead, by blocking access to entire websites from Turkey, it paralyzes access to numerous modern file sharing or social networks."
In a report Haraszti presented at Bilgi University in Istanbul, Ankara State University and at the International Law Congress of the Ankara Bar Association, he noted that, while in Turkey, he was unable to access even the OSCE’s YouTube website.
"Blocking access inside of Turkey is an affront to the public’s right to the entirety of the Internet, said Haraszti. "Numerous Criminal Code provisions are applied against media workers, and as a result, journalists risk imprisonment for carrying out their work."
"Therefore ‘reform or abolish’ the Internet Law is our main recommendation. I hope that the Turkish authorities will soon remove the blocking provisions that prevent Turkish citizens from being part of today’s global information society."