by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jul 20th 2016 9:31am
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jul 15th 2016 3:48pm
As Erdogan Faces Turkish Coup, The Guy Who Once Banned Social Media Sites, Forced To Address Nation Via Facetime & Twitter
from the digital-irony dept
Now, as you hopefully know from news sources other than Techdirt, as I write this, it appears that there's a military coup going on in Turkey, trying to usurp Erdogan. As part of that effort, all those social media sites that Erdogan himself does not like, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are being blocked. For Erdogan himself, that's meant that he's been cut off from his own means of communication to the public, leaving him to use Apple's Facetime to call a local TV station to put him on the air:
Turkish TV broadcasts a message from Erdogan claiming he's in control and will punish the coup leaders pic.twitter.com/8grmFarUfl— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) July 15, 2016
The revolution will be televised - extraordinary scenes from Ataturk airport on Periscope pic.twitter.com/LIgByX6OwC— Rory Cellan-Jones (@ruskin147) July 15, 2016
Update: And the irony gets thicker. Erdogan is now reaching out to the public... via Twitter:
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jun 24th 2016 2:08pm
Guy Who Passed Around Image Of Turkish President As Gollum Given Suspended Sentence, Loses Custody Of His Kids
from the it's-not-even-gollum dept
The Gollum case, however, is partially done, with one person accused of passing around the meme, Rifat Cetin, given a 1 year jail sentence, but having it suspended for five years -- meaning if he breaks no other laws in the next five years, he won't have to go to jail. He does, however, lose custody of his kids, which seems pretty damn harsh for sending around a simple (and not very insulting) internet meme. And this is actually a different case than the one we discussed earlier -- it's just that there were multiple lawsuits over the same image.
Cetin is going to appeal, not on the basis of "WTF, I don't even..." which should be the standard here, but on the technicality that Erdogan was actually Prime Minister at the time the image was posted, rather than President -- and the law is only against insulting the President.
Either way, all this has done, of course, is get more people to post and share that image over and over and over again. You'd think that "growing a thicker skin" might be a better overall strategy. But, then again, I'm not the President of Turkey, so what do I know?
by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 11th 2016 11:44am
Turkish President Erdogan Now Demands Injunction Against German Media Boss For Saying He Laughed At Anti-Erdogan Poem
from the give-it-a-rest,-erdogan dept
That kind of nuttiness jumped international boundaries recently, when Erdogan's lawyers discovered a long-forgotten German law that made it illegal to insult the head of a foreign country, and demanded that the law be used against a satirical German comedian, Jan Bohmermann, who purposefully read an insulting poem about Erdogan, in order to mock his thin skin. Some might find suing over that poem to be... well... a bit on the nose in making the point the poem was intended to make. But, to Erdogan, it appears that suing over insults is just something he can't stop doing. More recently, Erdogan discovered that Switzerland has a similar law and went after people there too (while also getting a Dutch reporter arrested).
Apparently, the fact that the most commonly mocked aspect of Erdogan these days is his inability to handle people mocking him hasn't made Erdogan realize that the more he freaks out, the more people are going to mock him. His latest move is especially crazy. It appears that the CEO of German mega-publishers Axel Springer, Mathias Dopfner, wrote an "open letter" in support of Bohmermann, which stated that he "laughed out loud" at Bohmermann's poem, and suggested that the case against Bohmermann is a problem for free speech. This is obviously a reasonable opinion held by many.
Erdogan's response? Apparently, it's to use the same law that was used against Bohmermann, to demand an injunction against Dopfner for publishing the letter, in order to get it taken down. Thankfully, this request was quickly rejected by a German court, saying that the open letter was "a contribution to building public opinion in a controversial debate."
Erdogan and his lawyer, Ralf Hocker, seem to only want to double down on this. In one article he says (prior to the injunction being denied) that if it were denied, he would appeal the decision to a higher court. And Hocker has some weird ideas about free speech and human dignity:
“Mr Erdogan is a human being and human dignity is inviolable,” Hocker said, adding that this was placed above the freedom of press, art and opinion in the German constitution.Uh, no. Dignity is very much violable. If you do something that trashes your own dignity. Like suing comedians for making a joke about you. Or suing nearly 2,000 other people for making jokes about you. The loss of dignity is not from the poem or the insults. It's from Erdogan's own actions.
In the NY Times link above, Hocker, makes some even more ridiculous statements:
Ralf Hocker, a lawyer representing Mr. Erdogan in Germany, said he had a mandate to seek an injunction against anyone who publicly insults the Turkish president, to try to stop what he described as an “avalanche” of scornful abuse.Of course, seeking an injunction against people mocking Erdogan for trying to silence all this criticism isn't going to stop the avalanche. It's just going to make it bigger. And, no, the reason people think they are allowed to insult Mr. Erdogan is because they believe in freedom of expression and that Erdogan has done things worthy of scorn. Stop doing those things -- like suing people over meaningless jokes -- and the scorn goes away. And, again, suing over "protecting human dignity" seems like an odd way to improve your dignity.
“Everyone thinks they are allowed to insult Mr. Erdogan in any way that they want because they do not find him very sympathetic,” Mr. Höcker said. “But this is not about sympathy, it is about human dignity, namely to protect it.”
by Glyn Moody
Wed, Apr 13th 2016 8:28am
Comedian Could Face 3 Years In German (Not Turkish!) Jail For Mocking Notoriously Thin-Skinned Turkish President
from the insulting-organs-or-representatives-of-foreign-states dept
Techdirt has been following with interest the ways in which the delicate sensibility of Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is being wounded. First there was Gollum; then the filing of 1,845 cases of allegedly insulting the Turkish President; and finally, a mild satirical video that Erdoğan didn't want you to see. The last of these not only caused the Streisand Effect to kick in with a vengeance, but has provoked a German comedian to take things up a notch, as reported here by the Guardian:
In a short clip from a late-night programme screened on the German state broadcaster ZDF at the end of last month, comedian Jan Böhmermann sits in front of a Turkish flag beneath a small, framed portrait of Erdoğan, reading out a poem that accuses the Turkish president of, among other things, "repressing minorities, kicking Kurds and slapping Christians while watching child porn".
Exactly as Böhmermann doubtless intended, this has caused a huge political stink. The broadcaster ZDF took down the video, and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, told Turkey's prime minister that the poem was a "deliberately offensive text" that she personally disapproved of. Most significantly, the Turkish government has filed a formal request for Böhmermann's prosecution. So what? you might ask. Germany isn't Turkey, and so surely there's no way that somebody would be prosecuted just for a few rude lyrics about a foreign leader. Well, it turns out that's not the case:
On 6 April it emerged that Germany's state prosecutor was investigating Böhmermann for violation of the little-used paragraph 103 of the criminal code, which concerns insulting organs or representatives of foreign states. At worst the comedian was facing a prison sentence of up to three years.
Although some people in Germany have condemned Böhmermann for being coarse, an attention-seeker and even racist, Merkel does not want to be seen as a world leader who harms freedom of speech:
In a government press conference on Monday, [Merkel's spokesperson] Seibert said Merkel wanted to make it unequivocally clear that freedom of speech was "naturally the highest good", irrespective of whether she considered a satirical piece "tasteful or tasteless".
On the other hand, Merkel desperately needs Turkey's help in dealing with the huge numbers of refugees from the Middle East flooding into southern Europe. A deal between the EU and Turkey has been agreed to help address this problem, although doubts remain about whether it is a realistic solution. In any case, Erdoğan is in a very strong position -- and knows it. This really puts Merkel and the German government on the spot, and it will be intriguing to see how -- or even if -- they manage to reconcile the conflicting pressures.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Apr 1st 2016 3:22am
Turkish President Comes To The US, Pretends That It Can Silence And Attack The Press Like It Does At Home
from the freedom-of-the-press? dept
A planned speech by the controversial Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan descended into violence and chaos Thursday, with one journalist physically removed from the event site by Turkish security personnel, another kicked by a guard, and a third — a woman — thrown to the sidewalk in front of a Washington think tank where he was to speak.And then there was this:
Later, a shoving match between what appeared to be a Brookings Institute worker and Turkish security broke out. “I am in charge of this building,” the apparent Brookings employee shouted as the two tangled. A Foreign Policy reporter and others holding cameras outside the event were also scolded by Turkish security. One cameraman was chased across the street by Turkish guards.Apparently local Washington DC police had to keep explaining to Erdogan's security that they're not in charge and they're not allowed to do what they were doing:
Local Washington D.C. police officers were forced time and again to get between Erdogan’s security forces and journalists and protesters. At one point, an officer placed himself between one of Erdogan’s security guards and a cameraman he was moving to confront, while another angrily confronted several Turkish security guards in the middle of the street, telling them, “you’re part of the problem, you guys need to control yourselves and let these people protest.”Meanwhile, inside, Erdogan played ignorant claiming that he has no problem at all with "criticism" but rather is just deeply offended by "insults."
Erodgan says has no problem with critcism, but does not allow insult, if insulted, my lawyers will file lawsuit #incredible— Laura Rozen (@lrozen) March 31, 2016
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Mar 29th 2016 2:07pm
Turkish Government Summons German Ambassador Because Of A Silly Satirical Video... That's Now Getting More Attention
from the erdowhat? dept
And imagine how much more effective it would have been if Erdogan and the Turkish government (a) ignored the video or (b) laughed it off? Instead, in freaking out about it, it only makes people think that it's worth taking seriously.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Mar 8th 2016 9:32am
from the thin-skin dept
And the stories keep on coming about prosecutions for "insulting" Erdogan. The most insane one started making news a few weeks ago, when a Turkish man filed a complaint against his own wife for apparently insulting Erdogan in their home.
Incredibly, it appears that such complaints, which need to be approved by the Justice Ministry are coming in at a rate of over 100 per month. Erdogan has only been President for 18 months, and...
According to news reports, the man, identified by the Yeni Safak newspaper as Ali D., had warned his wife of three years, G.D., not to curse Erdogan -- a popular albeit polarizing political figure -- when he appeared on television. She supposedly defied him, and dared him to lodge a legal case against her.
He duly obliged.
"I kept on warning her, saying why are you doing this? Our president is a good person and did good things for Turkey," the husband is quoted as saying.
"The justice ministry has allowed 1,845 cases on charges of insulting Erdogan to go ahead," Bekir Bozdag said, responding to questions in parliament.As the NY Times notes, while the law against insulting the President has been on the books, it has almost never been used until Erdogan took over the Presidency. And, frankly, it seems like Erdogan continuing to pursue such a strategy does much more to hurt his reputation than people telling jokes making fun of him:
"I am unable to read the shameful insults made against our president. I start to blush," said Bozdag, who is from Erdogan's ruling Islamist-rooted AK Party.
The idea that Mr. Erdogan is so delicate that he would be grievously wounded by any language is hard to believe, and really beside the point. He is a ruthless and intolerant ruler who has proven that he does not really believe in and cannot abide his country’s democratic system. Democracy requires that citizens are able to speak out when necessary against their leaders.
by Glyn Moody
Tue, Dec 8th 2015 11:27pm
from the not-just-for-cat-videos dept
Last week Techdirt wrote about a curious case involving the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Gollum. In passing, Mike mentioned that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) had just made an important ruling involving one of Turkey's many bans on YouTube. Here's what the ECHR found (pdf):
that there had been a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
One interesting aspect is how the court describes YouTube -- not just a place to find cat videos, but:
The case concerned the blocking of access to YouTube, a website enabling users to send, view and share videos.
The Court found in particular that the applicants, all academics in different [Turkish] universities, had been prevented from accessing YouTube for a lengthy period of time and that, as active users, and having regard to the circumstances of the case, they could legitimately claim that the blocking order in question had affected their right to receive and impart information and ideas.
a single platform which enabled information of specific interest, particularly on political and social matters, to be broadcast. It was therefore an important source of communication and the blocking order precluded access to specific information which it was not possible to access by other means.
A post on Access Now points out that this latest decision is the second such ruling involving Turkey and the ECtHR -- Techdirt wrote about the earlier one back in 2012:
This ruling builds on the earlier ruling by the ECtHR in Yildrim v. Turkey (2012), which found against the Turkish practice of blocking entire sites and web services when content might have been illegal in only some instances. In the 2012 decision, the court recognized the claim of the owner of a service using Google Sites; in this case, the plaintiffs were not site owners, but users. In short, this ruling recognizes the rights and standing of internet users under the [European Convention on Human Rights]. The academics also successfully petitioned the court to recognize the concept of "citizen journalism" for the first time. This opens the door for more non-credentialed, unlicensed, or independent journalists and bloggers to fight for their rights.
Those broader implications make the win by the three Turkish academics even more valuable, since the ECtHR judgment can now be used to fight censorship in any of the 47 countries that have ratified the European Convention on Human Rights (pdf).
by Michael Ho
Fri, Dec 4th 2015 5:00pm
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
- The overuse of antibiotics in the meat industry could be creating superbugs in our food chain -- and a surprising amount of these resistant microbes are already in commercial foods. Consumer Reports looked at a variety of meat samples and found over 80% of the turkey meat it tested contained superbugs. Ugh. Cook your Turkeys thoroughly next Thanksgiving.... [url]
- The 1993 E. coli outbreak from hamburger meat killed at least four kids and poisoned hundreds of people. That outbreak was followed years later by other infectious contamination in produce, cheese and cookie dough... and the food safety system still isn't perfect. Salmonella in chicken is another potential problem, and the food industry is responding -- though perhaps a bit slower than some would like. [url]
- Bacteriophages as biocontrol agents in foods were approved by the FDA in 2006, but it's not approved for infant formula. Bacteriophages -- viruses that specifically attack bacteria -- are abundant everywhere, so they're presumably safe and environmentally friendly -- and could prevent babies from getting terrible illnesses. These phages could be an important tool to combat food-borne microbes, but we may still want to be careful not to over-use them or over-engineer them to the point that they might attack microbes indiscriminately. [url]