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RIGHTS > Turkey’s top court rules YouTube ban violates freedom of speech

ANKARA

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The Constitutional Court ruled on May 29 that the ruling to block YouTube violated the rights of users and freedom of speech.

The Constitutional Court reviewed three separate appeals on the ban imposed on March 27 without a court decision on the YouTube.  One of the applications is filed by the company itself, while the others are filed by President Metin Feyzioğlu of the Union of Turkey’s Bar Associations (TBB) and scholar Kerem Altıparmak.

The court will send its decision to the Transportation and Communication Ministry and to the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) with a clear demand of the removal of the blocking. 

A local court had already granted a stay of execution for the ban on YouTube in April but the TİB said that it will not unblock YouTube while “criminal content” remains on the popular video-sharing website, contradicting the latest April 9 court ruling. The criminal content the TİB referred to is a recording of a key security meeting on Syria that was leaked online. 

The ban on YouTube, less than a week after a similar move against Twitter, added more fuel to the outrage against the government’s tightening grip on the Internet after it empowered the TİB with the authority to block access regardless of a court order. 

After the block, the Court unanimously ruled that the Twitter ban was a violation of free speech, which is guaranteed by Article 26 of the Constitution. “Everyone has the right to express and disseminate his or her thoughts and opinion by speech, in writing, pictures or through other media, individually or collectively,” the article states.

May/29/2014

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