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Turkey’s YouTube Ban Violated Freedom Of Expression, European Court Rules

Turkey’s YouTube Ban Violated Freedom Of Expression, European Court Rules
[Photo: Flickr users Sibe Kokke, William John Gauthier]

Back in 2008, a Turkish court opted to block access to YouTube–a ban that lasted more than two years. The decision was a result of multiple videos on YouTube that the court deemed “insulting to the memory” of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first president of modern-day Turkey. Following the injunction, three Turkish teachers went to court in 2010 to protest it.

On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on the case, arguing that Turkey had violated freedom of expression–which was protected under the European Convention on Human Rights–when it banned YouTube.

“Blocking without a legal basis users’ access to YouTube infringed the right to receive and impart information,” the court wrote in its ruling, according to Agence France-Presse. “The court also found that there was no provision in the law allowing the domestic courts to impose a blanket blocking order on access to the Internet, and in the present case to YouTube, on account of one of its contents.”

Prior to being blocked, YouTube was Turkey’s fifth most popular website. But it isn’t the only site to have been banned there; censorship is an ongoing issue in the country. Both YouTube and Twitter were momentarily blocked last year to shield the government from a corruption investigation.

PM