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ECtHR asks Turkey to provide defense for Wikipedia ban by end of October

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has asked Turkey to provide a defense statement justifying a two-year-long ban on popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia by Oct. 31, Deutsche Welle reported.

The Wikimedia Foundation filed a petition at the court in April on the grounds that the ban on Wikipedia in Turkey, which went into effect in April 2017, violates the right to freedom of expression.

Officials said at the time that an “administrative measure” had been taken but gave no reason for the ban.

Turkish media said authorities had asked Wikipedia to remove content by writers “supporting terrorism.”

The Strasbourg-based court, which decided to give the case “priority treatment,” is asking Turkey to prove that its ban on Wikipedia is in compliance with an article on freedom of expression in the European Convention on Human Rights.

“Wikipedia has been blocked in Turkey for more than two years. Free and thriving societies are built on free and open discourse,” said Katherine Maher, CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation. “The ECHR’s decision to fast-track our case is a recognition of the threat of government censorship to our most fundamental rights.”

The case is being considered at a time when censorship and government control of the Internet is a growing issue around the world and Turkey.

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