Turkish Government Says Online Freedom Is Like Violence Against Women

from the I-don't-even dept

As anyone who has been following the news knows, Turkey has been going through a turbulent patch recently. It’s also been trying to control dissenting voices online, as Techdirt has reported. So it comes as no surprise that it is bringing in even stricter censorship laws:

Amendments under debate in parliament to Turkish Law No. 5651, which governs all Internet content in the country, are the latest assault on freedom of expression in Turkey. The law was originally enacted in May 2007 to curb access to YouTube videos and online pornography, but the Turkish government regularly hides behind this law and others like it to filter or block content it disfavors, including advocacy for Kurdish rights. The independent press agency Bianet estimated that 110,000 websites were blocked in 2011 alone, while Google reported Turkish requests to remove content from the web rose nearly 1000% last year.

Proposed amendments to Law No. 5651 would provide for additional penalties on authors, content providers, and users of content it deems inappropriate with no effective means of redress.

What is surprising, though, is that alongside legislative changes, the Turkish government has also embarked on a bizarre advertising push:

The Turkish government started a new campaign against “too much freedom.” Next to an image of a beaten woman is a line that translates “Violence is a crime. What about the Internet? Absence of rules does not mean liberty!”, equating surfing the Internet freely and expressing opinions with using violence against someone.

This is Nicolas Sarkozy’s “Internet as Wild West” trope pushed to extremes that even he would never have dared to explore.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

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Comments on “Turkish Government Says Online Freedom Is Like Violence Against Women”

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31 Comments
bshock says:

Re: Re:

This is how freedom in general dies, I suspect.

Reminds me of Tom Perkins’s recent comparison of how beleaguered billionaires are treated and Kristallnacht. How dare the common folk suggest publicly that income inequality exists?

Next we’re going to see the Koch Brothers whining about how the U.S. has turned into Soviet Russia because they can’t even buy off American politics in peace.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re:

Oh, you’ve seen that whining rant in The Atlantic? I thought it was satire.

What with that and certain employers seeking ownership rights over their employees (don’t get me started, but basically, if you don’t share and adhere to their religious beliefs they want the right to control your personal life), we’re pretty much screwed if this is the way the powers that be really think.

Anonymous Coward says:

Turkey is equating freedom with lawlessness. The question is, do the majority of people in Turkey value freedom over strict religious laws?

I shouldn’t really pick on Turkey. The UK is doing the exact same thing, but they’re rolling out their censorship program as a “Save the Children”, campaign.

US censors under a “Copying is Theft” campaign.

Russia censors under a “Beware of the Gays” campaign.

China censors under a “Tiananmen Square never happened” campaign.

I’m sure that these information control campaigns, are just warming up.

Next up, “Terrorists use Encryption and VPN providers” campaign.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That… really doesn’t make any more sense. ‘Violence on the internet’? What, like someone saying something mean to you or something? To compare physical harm like depicted in the picture/ad, to words on a screen(like say, those critical of the government)… that is a serious reach there, and would seem to suggest they’re getting pretty desperate.

Anonymous Coward says:

i wonder how long it will be before there is serious unrest in Turkey, then? more and more countries are doing this sort of thing, including so-called democratic ones. i cant see the Turkish citizens putting up with this for too much longer! and as for the ridiculous comparison, that just goes to show the mentality of those running the country and that they dont deserve to be in power anyway! dictatorships fail and all who agree with that doctrine are fine until it’s them being dictated to!

169 says:

Re: Re: Re:

I am well aware of the protests in Turkey. In fact, while on vacation there, I just missed a confrontation between the police and protesters. Late May 2013 (around the end of the third week I think), I walked by a small group of protesters and a few minutes later, police and one reporter all rushed past me with gas masks on. A little later, while waiting at the bus stop, some tear gas wafted over causing our eyes to tear up.

Anyways, we are talking about internet censorship, not protests or police brutality. I am not saying internet censorship doesn’t exist in Turkey, but I am saying it is no where near as extreme as it is in China. I remember when I was first visiting China before I moved there later, it was literally impossible to do any kind of search on news for Libya (in summer 2011) or the Arab Spring for that matter.

But before moving there, I learned what every expatriate (and some internationally mind Chinese) knows about dealing with the Great Fire Wall. Use VPN (virtual private network). Sure, there is a cat and mouse game going on with some VPN sites getting slowed down or blocked altogether by the Chinese government, but then the VPN sites reorganize and find other ways to make their services work. My point is that anyone who wants to get around censorship of the internet, can do so through any one of a variety of VPN sites. Perhaps, you may scoff at this point, but I would suggest this will only become more common among the populace in China.

And I have no doubt that the same solution will work quite well for Turkey.

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