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The Organization for Security and Co-operations (OSCE) has denounced the access block imposed on 136 websites and social media accounts by a court order. Releasing a statement for the press regarding the issue, the statement has indicated the following in brief:
“The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, expressed his deep concern today regarding the court ruling that blocked access to 136 news sites and social media accounts in Turkey, following a request made by the Gendarmerie General Command.
“One of the URLs included in the verdict made by the Ankara 3rd Penal Court of Peace on Tuesday is bianet.org, a news website and information resource known for its articles on human rights and coverage of trials related to freedom of expression in Turkey. Reportedly, following the shutdown of the website, more than 200,000 of its articles will be inaccessible.
“‘I am deeply concerned by this decision to block access to a very respected independent media in Turkey and several online websites,’ said Désir.
“‘Blocking Internet sources is an extreme measure, which can only be applied in cases of gross violations of human rights, or if there is an actual threat to public order.
“bianet is an important media reporting on issues of public interest. This decision represents a significant restriction on freedom of expression in Turkey and undermines media freedom commitments of the country.
“‘I call on the Turkish authorities to review this decision and respect freedom of expression and independent media. Unhindered access to online news sources is key to ensure citizens can have access to credible and trustworthy information with a variety of viewpoints,’ said Désir, stressing that this decision also confirms the need to reform the current Internet law and the procedures of the Courts of Peace.” (AÖ/SD)