Turkish government’s social media crackdown continues with “administrative measure” against YouTube

A day after a court ordered that Turkey's Twitter block be lifted, the government is trying to put a ban on YouTube

Topics: YouTube, Turkey, Government, Social Media, technology, Corruption, Politics, ,

Turkish government's social media crackdown continues with "administrative measure" against YouTube (Credit: AP/Richard Vogel)

Yesterday, a court in Turkey issued a “stay of execution” of the ban on Twitter. The court order demanded that the Turkish Telecommunications Authority remove the block that was placed on the social media site on March 20.

Today, according to Reuters, the Telecommunications Authority has taken “administrative measures” against a different Internet site, YouTube. The “measures” come after the latest in a series of incriminating leaks that are supposedly (though unconfirmed by Reuters) Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

According to the BBC, “what appeared to be a leaked audio recording of Turkish officials discussing Syria appeared on YouTube.” Reuters is reporting that a source in the prime minister’s office is calling the leak a “national security issue,” because the officials are talking about Syria. The source is also reported to have said that they are talking to YouTube and that the ban will be lifted if the content is removed.

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Since December of 2013 a stream of incriminating audio files have been leaked and posted on YouTube. The audio appears to be Prime Minister Erdoğan’s son, the prime minister himself and others, and its contents suggest corruption. These files have spread across social media. The prime minister has threatened action against YouTube and Facebook, and seven days ago blocked Twitter via a court order.

Yesterday, Twitter released a statement about the three court orders it received, post-Twitter block. It is especially worried about political speech being censored:

“The last order instructed us to take down an account accusing a former minister of corruption. This order causes us concern. Political speech is among the most important speech, especially when it concerns possible government corruption. That’s why today we have also petitioned the Turkish court on behalf of our users to reverse this order.”

It is unclear what action is being taken. According to the BBC, some users reported that YouTube was blocked, while others reported being able to access the website. Thus far, YouTube has not made a statement about the block.

h/t Reuters, BBC

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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