Turkish court lifts government's YouTube ban

Steven Loeb · April 4, 2014 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/361d

Court still allows the government to ban 15 specific videos, but not the entire service

With a Constitutional Court overturning the Turkish government's Twitter ban earlier this week, it seemed like only a matter of time before the same would happen with the country's ban on YouTube.

And, already, rulings are coming down in that direction.

A Turkisk court has ordered that the ban on YouTube be lifted, according to a report from Al Jazeera on Friday. The reason: the ban was too broad.

That is the good news. Here is the bad news: the court is still allowing the government to block 15 specific videos on the site. Also, unlike the Twitter ruling, this did not come down from a Constitutional Court, meaning that it the site will remained banned as this ruling is appealed to a higher court.

Still it is a step in the right direction.

The Turkish government banned YouTube on March 27th after a video appeared on the site with audio from a conversation between Turkey’s foreign minister, spy chief, and a top general in a high-security meeting that centered on the military situation in Syria.

Specifically, they discussed the Suleyman Shah Tomb, a military outpost that is officially considered Turkish land and has become a point of contention between Turkey and Syria. Terrorist groups in Syria have reportedly threatened to attack the tomb if Turkish soldiers don’t leave.

That ban came a week after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan banned Twitter in the country after he was accused of corruption on the social network. In a unanimously ruling, Turkey’s Constitutional Court declared on Wednesday that blocking Twitter was a violation of individuals’ freedom of speech, and the service was back on by Thursday.

Both of these moves show Turkey as a country in flux, and one that does not quite know how to deal with its people being able to express themselves, Cem Sertoglu, Partner at Earlybird Venture Capital, a firm that has invests in Turkish start ups, told me. 

"Turkey is in quite a confused state right now. The mainstream media has lost the trust of the people, especially educated ones, and Twitter has emerged as a news reader. There had been site bans in the past, so the Turkish public is well-versed in VPNs an DNS workarounds," he said.

"In short: The bans will not work. These are missteps taken with panic, and things will revert back to normal. We see these as the growing pains of a young democracy."

VatorNews has reached out to YouTube for a comment on the ruling. We will udpate this story if we learn more.

(Image source: wayvs.com)

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