Turkish PM, ministers may get right to block Internet with new bill
ANKARATurkey’s prime minister or any of his ministers will have the right to block any website without a court ruling for broad reasons such as “protection of public order,” according to a new omnibus bill.
The Prime Ministry and related ministries will be able to demand that the Telecommunications Directorate’s (TİB) authority to close websites within four hours on the basis of national security, protecting public order or preventing crime, according to a last-minute article submitted to parliament as part of an omnibus bill about foundations and associations.
The TİB will be able to decide to block websites or remove related content from the Internet in a very short period of time, according to the bill submitted by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Konya deputy Kerim Özkul. A demand by the Prime Ministry or any ministry will be sufficient for the TİB to take urgent decision to block access or remove Internet content in the name of “protecting the right to life, protecting people’s life and property, national security, public order, preventing crime, or protecting general health.”
Websites will be blocked four hours after the decision is sent by the TİB to the content providers or hosting provider and will remain closed until the content is removed.
Another regulation that granted similar rights to the TİB was passed in parliament on Sept. 10, 2014, sparking protests from Internet rights groups. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) appealed to the Constitutional Court on Sept. 15, 2014, to annul the changes, arguing that they further restricted Internet use in Turkey and increased the government’s control of web traffic. On Oct. 2, 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled as “unconstitutional” the TİB’s authority to close websites within four hours without a court ruling.