Last Updated: Sunday, 04 December 2016, 13:42 GMT

Turkey: Move to block YouTube ahead of elections points to growing censorship

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 27 March 2014
Cite as Amnesty International, Turkey: Move to block YouTube ahead of elections points to growing censorship, 27 March 2014, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5346a7b54.html [accessed 4 December 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Turkish authorities' move today to block access to YouTube on the eve of Sunday's elections, and not long after they restricted access to Twitter, smacks of a wider pre-meditated crackdown on freedom of expression, Amnesty International said.

According to media reports, Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs cited national security concerns when it sought an administrative order to block the video-sharing platform - allegedly to prevent further circulation of a taped recording of discussions between senior Turkish officials on Syria.

"The Turkish government appears to be itching for pretexts to close down websites because of their capacity to mobilize dissenting opinion and broadcast embarrassing material," said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International's researcher on Turkey.

"Coming just days before Turkey goes to the polls and in the wake of Prime Minister Erdoðan's strident criticism of YouTube, this is clearly nothing more than a crude attempt at government censorship that will only generate deeper distrust and frustration.

"Even if the Turkish authorities have legitimate concerns about some of the content that might appear, it is completely disproportionate to enforce a blanket YouTube ban in the entire country. Access to YouTube must be restored immediately and the authorities must stop blocking sites that expose abuses and provide a platform for dissenting views."

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