Former Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Türk has said that government-led move to block access to independent dailies’ websites violates the Article 28 of the Constitution, which mandates that the press is free, and that it shall not be censored.
“Blocking access [to dailies’ websites] means censorship. No matter which approach one takes, this practice means violation of right to publish and freedom of distribution [of a published edition].”
Referring to the censorship Yarına Bakış, one of the few remaining independent dailies in Turkey, is facing, Türk said, “The Article 124 of the TCK [Turkish Penal Code] on the “Prevention of communication” says that ‘any person who unlawfully prevents communication among the public institutions is punished with imprisonment from one year to five years’ in the 2nd sub-article. Those who impose this ban [on Yarına Bakış website] are commiting a crime, the punishment for which is imprisonment up to five years. Unfortunately, the basic rights and freedoms are reduced to mere words.”
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies Atilla Sertel and Eren Erdem also spoke to Yarına Bakış and reacted against the censorship.
“Websites, where people do [real] journalism and cover news that government would not like, are unlawfully banned. The [Telecommunications Directorate] TİB, which blocks access to news websites so easily, do not show the same awareness for gambling websites,” Sertel said.
Erdem also said hundreds of the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) websites were still functioning. “The government, which does nothing to prevent them, ban news websites and acts in a disgraceful manner,” Erdem added.
On Thursday, the website of the daily “Yarına Bakış” and “Yeni Hayat” as well as the news websites “Şubuo Haber” and “On7 Yirmi5” were blocked by the government with no immediate public explanation.
Yeni Hayat reported that the ban came right after publishing a news report titled “Either Capture Or Resign,” which stated that no official has resigned from their post despite the fact that a total of 290 people were killed over the past year in 15 bomb attacks carried out by ISIS and the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The daily also claimed that there are currently 150 potential suicide bombers affiliated with ISIS based on an indictment against the suspects of the Ankara bombing that claimed 102 lives in October 2015.