New law on use of Internet in Turkey could breach human rights

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UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

A new law curbing the use of the Internet in Turkey could lead to "breaches of human rights, in particular the right to privacy, free speech and opinion".

The warning to Turkey's authorities came from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The law would allow the country's telecommunications authority to block websites without first seeking a court order.

The law is incompatible with Turkey's international human rights obligations, according to Rupert Colville of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

"Law 6518 would also require Internet service providers to store data on web users’ activities for two years and make it available to the authorities upon request without a judicial order. In addition, Internet service providers faced severe penalties if they failed to remove content deemed to be illegal. Even before the amendments, Law 5651, enacted in May 2007, placed broad restrictions on Internet use in Turkey."

Around 37,000 websites have been blocked since the law came into force, Colville said.

OHCHR called on the authorities to review the legislation to bring it in line with international human rights standards.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’16′

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