Turkey’s top court annuls lower court ruling on removing website content
Oya Armutçu - ANKARATurkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the removal of content from websites is a violation of freedom of expression.
In its decision released late on Dec. 8, the Constitutional Court addressed an individual appeal from the owner of an online news portal, made after content was removed from the website through a local court order.
Eliminating the spread of views that concern the public without any justification is a form of “censorship,” the Constitutional Court stated in its ruling, which will enable a re-trial for the annulment of the lower court’s earlier verdict.
The Constitutional Court underlined that any judicial intervention into the content of a website without sufficient evidence would be considered censorship. Online content should be regarded within the frame of freedom of expression, in line with the press’ fundamental duty of monitoring and covering current developments, the court stated.
Court annuls four articles of the Internet Law
Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court has also announced that it has annulled four articles of the highly controversial recent Internet Law, following appeals from opposition parties.
Among the articles annulled by the Court is one that obliged content providers to give all necessary information requested by the Telecommunication Directorate (TİB) and to take measures imposed by it.
However, the Court refused to annul the law’s granting of authority to the TİB to ban websites without a court order, although this has been the most criticized part of the law.
The EU Progress Report on Turkey’s EU accession process, issued early in November, called on Turkey to amend the Internet Law in line with EU standards.