IN MY OPINION
Turkey’s telecommunications authority has said that access to Wikipedia is being barred due to entries alleging the country supports terrorism. It was not clear which specific posts had run afoul of Turkish rules.
Authorities in Turkey offered up an explanation on Sunday (April 30) for suddenly barring access to the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia, saying it was over certain entries that hadn’t been removed from the site. “Despite all the efforts, the content that falsely claims Turkey’s support for terrorist organizations was not removed from Wikipedia,” Turkey’s telecommunications authority stated in a tweet.
The authority said the content was “not allowed to be edited with accurate information” and that it is not possible to selectively block content on Wikipedia. The entire platform was therefore blocked in Turkey.
The statement added that “Wikipedia editors must do what is necessary” regarding the content.
On Saturday, Turkey’s private NTV television network, which has been criticized for censoring anti-government content, said the block was put in place over entries “placing Turkey on the same level as the ‘Islamic State'” despite requests to remove the content.
Not only this. Turkey also issued a decree on Saturday imposing a ban on popular dating programs on Turkish television channels. The Turkish government has blocked thousands of websites and has placed restrictions on social media platforms, including YouTube and Twitter. Authorities in Turkey are also able to block specific Twitter accounts.
More sackings across the country were shocked on Saturday when they could no longer access the website from within Turkey without using a virtual private network. The site contains encyclopedia-like entries on a broad spectrum of topics written in several languages. Anyone can register and propose changes, but the changes can be undone by others.
Turkey issued a set of decrees Saturday, one announced the firing of 3,974 officials while the second imposed a ban on popular dating programs on Turkish television channels. Another decree gazetted also reinstated 236 people to their jobs, according to the Associated Press.
The online encyclopedia’s founder Jimmy Wales tweeted that he would stand by Turks over their “fundamental” right to access.
Saturday’s public service expulsions included 1,127 justice ministry employees, including wardens, some 1,000 army personnel and 500 academics. That lifts to 100,000 the number of people purged in the nine months since last year’s coup attempt. Some 47,000 people have been arrested.
Freedom House, the independent rights watchdog, says over 111,000 websites were blocked already as of May last year, shortly after the coup attempt. Turkey is listed as “not free” on the organization’s Freedom on the Net index.
A democracy named – Turkey. Turkey – the end of press freedom for sure!
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