Reuters: Liberal Turkish paper has website blocked by authorities

Liberal Turkish paper has website blocked by authorities | TECHNOLOGY | NEWS |

Further net censorship in Turkey
Oct 16, 2008 7:46 PM

A Turkish newspaper said on Wednesday a court had blocked access to its website at the request of an Islamist writer, the latest Internet censorship to raise concerns about freedom of speech in EU-applicant Turkey.

Last month Turkish authorities barred access to the website of Oxford professor and evolutionist Richard Dawkins after the same writer, Adnan Oktar, the Muslim country’s leading creationist advocate, said it had defamed him.

The latest censorship was of the website of the liberal Vatan newspaper, a strong critic of the government.

‘Access to this site has been blocked by a court decision,’ said a message on the homepage of the Vatan newspaper accessed through a server in Turkey.

A spokesman for Oktar said he would make a statement on Thursday. Court officials were not available to comment.

Some 850 websites, including YouTube, have been blocked this year in Turkey, the number swollen by recent laws making it easier to prevent access to sites.

‘The reason for this block is a court decision sought by Adnan Oktar due to reader comments on an article printed on our site about his ‘community’,’ Vatan said in a statement on its website accessed via a proxy server.

Turkey is hoping to start two new chapters of EU reform work this year, which deal with media and society. Analysts say Europe will not be pleased with Turkish Internet censorship.

The majority of sites in Turkey closed by court order are due to allegations they encourage suicide, contain libel, child pornography, help users access drugs or promote prostitution.

But websites, including YouTube, have also been closed for insulting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, or for touching on the concept of Turkishness, a sensitive issue in the deeply nationalist-minded country.

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