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Turkish court reimposes YouTube ban for offensive content

[JURIST] A Turkish court has reordered telecom providers in the country to block access to popular video-sharing website YouTube [corporate website]. Reports surfacing in the Turkish media on Sunday suggest that the ban, originally reimposed Thursday, was a response to video clips insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk [Turkish News profile]. Users trying to access YouTube from Turkey in recent days have encountered the following notice: “Access to this web site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2008/55 of T.R. Ankara 12th Criminal Court of Peace.” A Turkish court issued a similar order [JURIST report] in March 2007 in response to a “virtual war” on YouTube between Turkey and Greece, in which citizens of both countries have been creating videos to mock the other. AP has more.

In Turkey, insulting Ataturk is an imprisonable offense. Similarly, "insulting the Turkish identity" is also a serious crime under the controversial Article 301 [Amnesty backgrounder; JURIST news archive] of Turkey's penal code [text, in Turkish]. Critics say Turkey has used Article 301 to silence government critics [OSCE review of the Draft Turkish Penal Code], which has presented a stumbling block [JURIST report] to the country’s proposed accession to the European Union.

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