Tag Archives: censorship

video artist Ali Kazma, who represented the country at the 2013 Venice Biennale, has published an online protest statement titled “Something Rotten in the Republic of Turkey.” In his essay, Kazma condemns ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) identity politics, which he claims pit the poorer Islamist sectors of society against the wealthy, more educated classes in order to maintain power.

If you happen to be in Turkey and are interested in soccer, I recommend that you tune in to DigiTurk, the channel that broadcasts soccer games nationally every week. During the games of the “Big 3” (the major teams representing Istanbul: Besiktas, Galatasaray, and Fenerbache), pay particular attention to the 34th minute [1] of the game. There will not be any sound. You will think that a technical failure has occurred or that the fervent fans have decided to stop chanting all of a sudden. You are wrong, because fans critical of the government’s [2] attempts to transform Gezi Parki into something else (a military barracks and a shopping mall) are chanting anti-government slogans and DigiTurk has silenced the service for which you have paid.

It appears that this story was misreported by a few sources, and the fans were flamed by UK government comments about censoring videos. Youtube has as program that lets trusted sources more easily flag videos that are then reviewed fairly quickly by YouTube staff. However, these videos still get reviewed to see if they violate any of YouTube’s terms of service, rather than automatically pulled down. It’s still concerning that the UK government seems to think that it should censor content that even they believe is not legal, but it doesn’t appear that YouTube is actually letting the UK government censor videos.

Mesay Mekonnen was at his desk, at a news service based in Northern Virginia, when gibberish suddenly exploded across his computer screen one day in December. A sophisticated cyber­attack was underway. But this wasn’t the Chinese army or the Russian mafia at work. Instead, a nonprofit research lab has fingered government hackers in a much less technically advanced nation, Ethi­o­pia, as the likely culprits, saying they apparently used commercial spyware, essentially bought off the shelf. This burgeoning industry is making surveillance capabilities that once were the exclusive province of the most elite spy agencies, such as National Security Agency, available to governments worldwide. The targets of such attacks often are political activists, human rights workers and journalists, who have learned that the Internet allows authoritarian governments to surveil and intimidate them even after they have fled to supposed safety.

Turkey has never had real journalistic freedom like in democratic countries. The difference now is that the Erdoğan government is institutionalizing the pressure mechanisms. Prior to the Erdoğan administration, almost all governments wanted to put pressure on the media. However, they never thought of appointing contact persons to wield full control over the media. Recent revelations have shown that Erdoğan has institutionalized control policies that go beyond even those of military coup leaders. Previous governments never attempted to threaten newspapers with a deliberate plan to fine them using tax collectors. They never attempted to put pressure on universities to fire academics from their posts at universities just because the government doesn’t like what an academic writes in a newspaper column. Erdoğan’s model of journalism has three pillars; don’t ask, don’t write, and “yes sir” journalism.