Bianet: Media Freedom Activists Bring Lawsuit against Google Ban

Bianet: Media Freedom Activists Bring Lawsuit against Google Ban

Akdeniz from Bilgi University and Altıparmak from Ankara University will appeal to the ban of certain Google services imposed by the Telecommunication Communication Presidency. bianet.org publication coordinator Kürkçü criticized the restrictions which directly harm the work of bianet. The Turkish Journalists Association and Reporters without Borders condemned the ban.

Erol Önderoğlu – Tolga Korkut
Istanbul – Ankara – BİA News Center
08 June 2010, Tuesday

Assoc. Prof. Yaman Akdeniz, member of the Bilgi University Faculty of Law, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kerem Altıparmak, member of the Ankara University Faculty of Political Science, prepare an appeal to the Telecommunication Communication Presidency (TİB) because of the restricted access to Google services implemented on 4 June.

The Ankara 1st Magistrate Criminal Court had banned access to the global social networking site YouTube.com, the video service owned by Google, with a decision from 4 May 2008. In order to increase the effect of this decision, certain services of Google which are activated under the same IP numbers are blocked now as well.

Yaman Akdeniz told bianet that he was not sure whether this problem could be overcome. The access to Google Analytics has become very troublesome, Akdeniz said to name just one example. Google Analytics offers web analytics for enterprises to gain insights into website traffic and marketing effectiveness.

Kürkçü: Measurements, correspondence, data processing hindered

bianet.org publication coordinator Ertuğrul Kürkçü confirmed the problem with Google Analytics. He said that the interruption of both YouTube and Google services has many negative effects:

‘Google analytics is an absolutely crucial service for us since it is the basis of our analysis of the viewing figures of our publications and of information related to our sources. For the past week we were not able to obtain any significant data which allows us to measure the reactions of our readers. This makes us blind’.

‘We are not able to make use of Google Docs for our internal correspondence and documentation. Even if we manage to use it, we are facing massive delays. This creates problems in processing data’.
‘Ready to take joint legal action’

‘More important, we have to cope with delays and lack of communication with our readers and other sources because our correspondence is done via Google. This is a serious interruption in our production process. We had difficulties before in particular regarding the sharing of videos due to restrictions imposed on YouTube. We sustained serious damage regarding both the contents and the operational procedures because of this ban. We protest TİB. We are open for a joint move together with other parties who have been harmed to do what we can with legal measures’.

Akdeniz emphasized that the actual problem is based on the latest implementations of TİB to make access to Google services more difficult and even fully block access in certain situations.

‘This application is exaggerated. YouTube has been blocked anyways. New measures to make access even more difficult are harming the other Google services. This is nothing else but censorship. This is an extreme and contradictory application which is unacceptable in a democratic society.
Turkish Journalists Association voices criticism

The Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) evaluated the obstructed access to several Google services as ‘a restriction of freedom of communication’. TGC called the implementation which is based on a court decision related to Google an ‘arbitrary’ application. They called TİB to take back the access ban.

RSF condemns restrictions on Google

Reporters without Borders (RSF) condemned the increasing censorship on Google in Turkey.

‘It is time the Turkish authorities demonstrated their commitment to free expression by putting an end to the censorship that affects thousands of websites in Turkey and by overhauling Law 5651 on the Internet, which allows this sort of mass blocking of sites,’ Reporters Without Borders said.

‘The censorship of YouTube in particular seems to be an archaic form of control, one that prevents Turks from accessing Web 2.0’s potential,’ the press freedom organisation added. ‘This trend has been accentuated by the current problems in accessing other services provided by Google, which are widely used by Turkish Internet users.’

Turkey under ‘surveillance’

In March this year, RSF added Turkey to the list of countries ‘under surveillance’ on the grounds of law no. 5651 on Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes Committed by means of Such Publication which creates the basis for trials related to internet sites. (EÖ/TK/VK)

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