Rally for freedom on the Internet: second round coming up on the 22nd of May
People in Istanbul and all over Turkey take to the streets to protest against the Internet ban.
There has been unrest for a while about the new filter system introduced by the Information Technologies and Communication Institute (BTK) of Turkey. The new filter system, if it is to be implemented as planned in August, will categorize all users of the Internet in Turkey since everyone will have access to it via the filters they will “have to” choose. There will be 4 filters prescribed by the law which people will "have to" choose from. This enforcement by the state also means that everyone with access to the internet will be traceable and their actions will be under surveillance. Civil society thus have organized via facebook and other internet platforms a rally against internet bans where people of all ages and groups have attended to make their claim for freedom be heard.
Censorship in Turkey
Turkey’s history of Internet censorship already portrays quite a dark picture. For two and a half years access to YouTube had been banned until recently on the basis that it included four videos insulting Ataturk, the founding father of Turkey and there is still no access to Richard Dawkins’ or Playboy’s websites besides many other examples. There are more than 1,600 internet sites since 2007 which suffer the fate of blocked access. Recently the Telecommunications Directorate of Turkey (TİB) announced a pool of words considered obscene which enforced websites including any one of them to change their content or surrender to the same unfortunate fate. It is enough for the authorities to only suspect a website to ban access to it on the basis of taking precautions even if there is no real judicial or legal ground for taking such an action.
Human rights on the Internet
We live in an age where the definition of basic human rights has extended into the domain of the Internet; or in this case “should be” extended into the domain of internet. Turkey invests a lot in technology but without the necessary creative, transparent and free environment for its development these investments are bound to hit the wall. There are fights waged in courts against Turkey’s Big Brother of internet as cyber rights activists from Turkey as well as Google sites and last.fm take their cases to the European court of Human Rights. However more important and effective is the fight waged by the civil society on the streets against standardization of internet by filtering access to it. There has already been one rally on the 15th of May for freedom on the internet and the next round is coming up on the 22nd. Once again the Taksim Square in the center of Istanbul will host people of all ages who will not let their words be chained or minds infiltrated.
Photo 1 - by Canan İrdel
Photo 2 - by Canan İrdel
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