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How much are we blocked on the internet?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

“Cyber Citizens are Gathering” Meeting held by Kaos GL with the purpose of establishing a network regarding internet freedom started with the “Internet Legislation in Turkey and LGBTI’s” draft report presentation of Yasemin Öz.

“Cyber Citizens are Gathering” Meeting held by Kaos GL, who has gathered over 20 voluntary reporters from 14 cities in the past May with its four days “New Media School” activity, started today with the purpose of establishing a network regarding internet freedom.

26 LGBTI Activists from 13 Cities Gathered

26 LGBTI and internet activists from 13 cities who have gathered in the Civil Society in the Penal System (CİSST) hall discussed to find the ways to fight collectively in the internet field.

Attorney Yasemin Öz who has presented a draft report on prevention of freedom of expression emphasized that many obstacles are met when freedom of expression through the internet is mentioned. Öz mentioned that preventions are applied in two ways and explained the legal framework of blocking through the port filtering system.

Öz stated that over 5000 domain names are blocked with the filtering system according to the “Law on Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes Committed by means of such Publications” and highlighted that the blocked domains included sites as degisikmezeler.com, sokmarket.com, bayramcikolatasi.com, bilgisayarakademisi.com, forzabesiktas.com, donanimalani.org, bakireklam.com, citirkurabiyem.com, anlayarakokuma.org.

“Our Area of Law regarding Internet is too narrow”

Yasemin Öz summarized the legal process saying; “Blocking the access to a web site is made possible through criminal court decision. Since the decision to block didn’t undergo an appellate review, we have a lack of ruling case. Therefore, we don’t have a pool in which crimes and punishments are collected. How many sentences do we have? With which reason are they being applied? We can’t reach such information. We can obtain information only if we are involved or the case is reflected in the press. As a result, our area of law is becoming narrow.”

Whether this situation makes the blocking mechanism stronger or not, whether blocking web sites like Youtube or Twitter prevents freedom of expression, as well as the fact that religion is considered as a value that should be protected within the scope of personal rights with the reason of the decision given about Charlie Hebdo claiming “humiliating religion and prophet” and whether sexual orientation and gender identity could also be included in this decision or not were discussed among the participants.

The keywords used in filtering include words as gey, gay, got (ass), sarışın (blonde), hatun (chick), haydar (penis in slang), hikaye (story), homemade, itiraf (confession), liseli partner (high-school student partner), sıcak (hot), şişman (fat), teen.

Mentioning about the pulling Kaos GL journal from the market and blocking the access to 3. Kadın (3rd Woman) book of Anıl Alacaoğlu within the scope of protection from obscene publication, Öz told about the censorships aimed at freedom of expression. She talked about the process of the lawsuit brought against Responsible Editor of Kaos GL Journal Umut Güner during the collection of the journal period.

Aylin Nazlıaka submitted a parliamentary question

The fact that kaosgl.org wasn’t accessible from the universities and the parliament was reflected on the human rights violations report in 2007. Blocking decision was revoked upon submission of a parliamentary question by CHP parliamentarian Aylin Nazlıaka ındicating that such process continues completely as per objections, acceptance of objections old-boy network mechanism which has no legal equivalent, Yasemin Öz emphasized the lawlessness of such mechanism.

4 hours restriction doesn’t fall within any of the subjects of law

Blocking the contents as per law number 5651 is applied in contexts like directing to suicide, sexual abuse of children, drugs, health, vulgarity, gambling. Blockings are applied with the purpose of protection of national security, public order, crime prevention and general health. According to the law, the judge gives the initial decision and Prime Ministry or relevant Ministries can directly request blocking in objectionable situations. The content should be removed within 4 hours after the decision is conveyed to the content providers and the law foresees a 72 hours period. There is no 4 hours limitation in any legal situation in Turkey.one should apply to Public Prosecution Office regarding the removed contents. From 50 thousand to 500 thousand TL administrative fine is applied.

Mentioning the examples of the blocked web sites, Öz stated that Kaos GL was categorized as “adult content” during the filtering process and websites as pembehayat.org, Ekşi Sözlük, Alkın Girls’ Dormitory, abuse and exploitation are faced with the risk of being closed.

The activity will continue with the presentation of Journalist İlden Dirini from Alternative Informatics Association. Dirini will both talk about Kem Gözlere Şiş Project and talk about the hate speech on internet. During the last activity of the first day, “Feminist Principles on the Web” which was translated to Turkish by KaosGL will be discussed.

* “Cyber Citizens are Meeting” is supported by Swedish Development Agency SIDA within the scope of “Internet and Sexual Rights” project of APC which is a partner of Kaos GL as well.

** This activity has been carried out by Pink Life and Kaos GL Associations within the scope of Don’t Hate Project which is financially supported by The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). 

 

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