Turkey’s block of Twitter and free expression
by Edyta Sitko
March 26, 2014
Freedom of speech and the right to information are basic human rights and should never be compromised. In countries like Turkey, having an independent forum for people to discuss information and ideas is especially important.[caption id="attachment_25099" align="alignnone" width="600"] A dove was rescued outside the Greenpeace Turkey office on the day ban was passed. It was known around the office as Twitter bird before being recovering and being released.[/caption] NGOs like Greenpeace regularly challenge governments and corporations on environmental and human rights issues. We rely on social media platforms like Twitter to raise awareness about these issues and to urge people to take action. The Government has shut down Twitter as a whole, citing a pending civilian court case. The enforcement of the Internet censorship law is an indicator of a much larger problem of limits on expression. This is unacceptable and its not how a democratic country like Turkey should work.
So far the ban on Twitter has been counter-productive. Many people have found ways around it, using a mix of tech fixes. Twitter is being used more than ever.But as the public finds ways through the government's blocks, the government continues to respond by shutting them down. Just a few hours ago, a court decision was passed in Ankara ordering the Governments ban on Twitter be suspended. But Turkeys telecommunications authority may still object to the ruling. We truly hope that the ban will now be lifted and that the Internet censorship laws will be amended to include provisions for the freedom of speech and expression.