Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has gone further in his way against freedom of speech in the social media by turning off Twitter a few days before the elections apparently because some users published claims of corruption against him. But this is not the only conflict he has with the social and convencional media.
He already approved a law tightening the control over the Internet in February. Now there are fears that next in line of bans would be YouTube or Facebook. And the records on journalist imprisoned are bad with 17 journalists and 2 media assistants imprisoned.
Twiter users, among them the president Abdullah Gul have protested the ban. Gul posted in his twitter account to his 4.4 million followers that such a ban is unacceptable. That means a lot of popularity for Gul in the middle of this critical decision made by Erdogan. Friday and Saturday hashtags like #TwitterisblockedinTurkey and #Turkey blockedTwitter became top trending globally. Also was popular #ErdoganBlockedTwitter with messages from the whole world ridiculing the Prime Minister.
This comes after a law approved in february that restricted harshly the freedom for the users of the Internet. That law allow the authorities to block web sites without court order if their content is considered offensive or insulting. The Internet providers are forced to give users data to the authorities, again without court order, and without notifying the users affected.
Before all this measures were taken, Reporters without Borders had classified Turkey in the position 154 of 179 countries studied in their Press Freedom Index 2013. The organisation says Turkey “it is currently the world’s biggest prison for journalists, especially those who express views critical of the authorities on the Kurdish issue”. So turkey has an older and deeper problem with the freedom of speech than the one which is surfacing now extended to all the citizens connected to the Internet with accounts in the social media expressing their opinions about what’s happening in their country.