Internet Freedoms in Turkey Continue to Deteriorate: Report

Photo illustration: Pixabay/Kaboompics

The Free Web Turkey 2021 Annual Report funded by the Netherlands shows that at least 11,050 URLs were blocked in Turkey in 2021.

"While 1,593 of the blocked URLs contained news articles, a total of 49 news websites were banned during the monitoring period, some even more than once," the report said.

"The project's findings bring to light that 53 per cent of blocked news articles pertain to information directly related to Turkish President and AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his family, and to mayors or officials of the AKP," the report added.

According to Mumtaz Murat Kok, project and communications coordinator at the MLSA, the situation is not getting any better in 2022.

"The results of this report, which covers a period of only one year and reveals the dimensions of digital censorship in Turkey, becomes much more frightening when considered together with the 'disinformation bill' submitted to parliament very recently," Kok told BIRN.

The new disinformation bill currently waiting to be considered by parliament makes 'disinformation' a crime that can lead to a jail term and paves the way for an even more repressive and coercive media environment.

"As the report reveals, there is the intent to strengthen censorship practices that currently aim to protect a certain group and further violate the public's right to receive information. In a country where there is almost absolute uniformity in media ownership, social media - on which many journalists rely on to report and many citizens rely on for news - is also being stifled," Kok said.

The report also recommends that awareness of censorship and surveillance should be increased and social media platforms should bear the...

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