Amnesty International has issued a public statement criticising a bill passed last week by the Turkish parliament which could potentially impose severe restrictions on internet usage. Amnesty has called on President Abdullah Gul to veto the bill.
The statement says the the new law could have a “chilling effect” on freedom of expression and adds that Turkey should amend the law to align it with international standards of freedom of expression. It goes on to say that:
“Internet based media and social media have provided vital platforms for expressing ideas and receiving information in the face of self-censorship practised by large swathes of the mainstream media and threats of criminal prosecution against journalists in Turkey.”
The document also makes reference to an Azerbaijani journalist Mahir Zeynalov, who was deported last weekend for Tweeting criticism of the current government.
The UN and the international community have also expressed grave concerns over the current bill which gives the power to one single individual, the head of the Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) to block access to a website, if it is considered to violate privacy, without first seeking court approval.