Turkey’s Ekşi Sözlük (“Sour Dictionary”) has been one of the country’s favorite web repositories of frequently witty, occasionally irreverent user-generated knowledge for the past 12 years. But the country’s largest collaborative discussion platform and hypertext dictionary made headlines last week when 50 of its members were taken in by the police and charged with insulting religion.
“The police found my IP address and I was suddenly taken in from my home. I was charged for my comments on religion,” said one of the writers who wanted to remain anonymous…
Since the 2007 passage of article 5651, Turkish law has legally distinguished Internet regulations from those imposed on other media. The law classifies eight violations which can prompt the closing of a website: prostitution, child pornography, gambling, obscenity, promoting suicide, facilitating drug abuse, provision of unapproved substances for health care, and insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, modern Turkey’s founder.
Besides these categories, anyone who thinks that a web site is “suspicious” can call the police. The owner may then be taken in, or the police may confiscate their computer until the case is resolved… Currently there are about 1 million banned websites in Turkey. Among the previously blocked and re-opened sites are YouTube, Google Groups, WordPress, and Dailymotion… (click here for the full article)