OSCE : Undemocratic legislative process in Turkey!!

Amendments to Turkey’s Internet Law must respect media freedom and right to freedom of expression



VIENNA, 31 January 2014 – Amendments to Turkey’s Internet Law can further restrict free expression in the country, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović said today.

“If the new measures are adopted they would place a disproportionate burden on Internet service and hosting providers,” Mijatović said, referring to an assessment of the amendments commissioned by her office and sent to the Turkish authorities.

The assessment points to a number of concerns including the right of the Telecommunications Communication Presidency to request and collect data on any Internet user without judicial oversight.

The Representative said that such measures could curb pluralistic discussion about issues of public importance and also negatively impact indispensable elements of freedom of the media, such as investigative journalism or protection of sources.

“I trust that the concerns outlined in the assessment will be positively considered by the authorities. I also hope that the amendments will be open for broad public discussions with all interested parties,” Mijatović said.
Mijatovic offered her Office’s continuing assistance in bringing the Internet Law in line with OSCE commitments.

Since the enactment of Law No 5651 entitled Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes Committed by means of Such Publication1 in May 2007 access to approximately 37,000 websites have been denied by court orders and administrative blocking orders issued by the Telecommunications Communication Presidency (TIB) by January 2014.2 Currently, access to popular platforms such as Scribd, Last.fm and Metacafe is blocked from Turkey. Access to WordPress, DailyMotion and Vimeo has been blocked temporarily by court orders during the last few months. A number of alternative news websites that report news on southeastern Turkey and Kurdish issues remain indefinitely blocked from Turkey. Furthermore, several users received fines, prison time or suspended sentences for comments made on social media platforms. In September 2013, during a retrial following an appeal, the renowned pianist Fazil Say received a 10 month suspended sentence for insulting religious values on Twitter. Furthermore, a legal challenge was launched in 2011 to annul the BTK filtering policy on the grounds that it lacked a legal basis. The Alternative Information Technologies Association argued at the Council of State level that the filtering system discourages diversity by imposing a single type of family and moral values. A decision is expected during 2014.

The blocking provisions of Law No 5651 has been subject to review by the European Court of Human Rights in December 2012. In the judgment of Ahmet Yildirim v. Turkey involving access blocking to the Google Sites platform in Turkey, the European Court of Human Rights, finding a violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, held that a restriction on access to a source of information is only compatible with the Convention if a strict legal framework is in place regulating the scope of a ban and affording the guarantee of judicial review to prevent possible abuses. Despite this important decision access to Google Sites is still blocked in Turkey.3 The European Court’s decision is in line with a 2010 study published by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media which called the Turkish authorities to quickly bring Law No. 5651 in line with OSCE commitments and other international standards on freedom of expression, independence and pluralism of the media and the free flow of information. However, rather than bringing the current law in line with the OSCE commitments and other international standards, the Government proposed further restrictions that raise major concerns that will be assessed below. Full text: Briefing on Proposed Amendments to Law No. 5651
The Internet Law of Turkey
The Representative office’s legal analysis on the Internet Law of Turkey, published in 2010: Report of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media on Turkey and Internet Censorship

Source & Picture.

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