Access ban on online article about sexual abuse allegations ‘violation of press freedom’: Turkey's Constitutional Court
Oya Armutçu – ANKARA
Turkey’s Constitutional Court has found a local court ruling banning access to an online article a “violation of freedom of press and expression,” sending the case to an Istanbul court for retrial.
The top court’s ruling sets a precedent for similar cases on online articles.
On Aug. 30, 2006 the online news portal Bianet published an article running the headline “It is harassment, not warm business relations,” reporting on four women’s complaints of sexual harassment they filed against their employer, the general director of the Istanbul-based charter airline Bestair.
The general director had then demanded an access ban to the news story, saying his personal rights were violated.
On June 23, 2015, the local court banned access to the news story, leading Bianet officials to appeal the decision, which was rejected. Bianet officials this time took their case to the Constitutional Court, the highest legal body in the country, in an individual application filed on Aug. 26, 2015.
In a verdict published on the Official Gazette on Dec. 4, the top court said the local courts’ ruling amounted to a “violation of freedom of press and expression,” sending the file case to the Istanbul court for retrial.
The top court also said a “violation of personal rights” regarding the Bestair general director was not the case, as “nude or obscene videos or images” were not released by Bianet.