Tuesday, November 2, 2010

YouTube Ban Lifted

From Hurriyet Daily News:
Turkey’s longstanding ban on YouTube, the world’s largest and most popular video-sharing website, was lifted Saturday by an Ankara court following the removal of controversial videos from the service.

“Turkey is a country run by laws and everyone has to obey the law,” said Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım, who oversees Internet-related issues. “Finally the managers of the website [YouTube] decided to move in this direction and realized there is no other way than following [Turkey’s] laws.”

Public access to the website was banned by a court decision nearly two and a half years ago over videos insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, something that is illegal in Turkey. Removal of the videos cleared the way for Turkish users to reaccess the website legally, Yıldırım said.
Yildirim is not telling the whole story, though. Google on numerous occasions approached the Turkish government about taking down offensive videos rather than having the Turkish government apply a wholesale ban of the website (see this post from 2008!). Also in the mix are allegations Yildirim and the Turkish government have made that YouTube and other Google provided services are violating Turkish law in that Google is not properly paying tax. What has changed here?

For more on Turkey's draconian Internet law, no doubt one of the most unpopular, if not the most unpopular law, on Turkey's books, click here. If I were the CHP, I would make an issue of it.

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