[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Turkey [official website] on Tuesday ruled that a previous decision to ban Youtube [corporate website] violated users' freedom of speech rights. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] had imposed the ban on YouTube and Twitter [JURIST report] after illicit recordings of top security talks were posted on YouTube and distributed through Twitter. The court cited Article 26 of the Constitution of Turkey [document, PDF], which states that "[e]veryone has the right to express and disseminate his or her thoughts and opinion by speech, in writing, pictures or through other media, individually or collectively," to strike down the ban [Hurriyet Daily News]. With this decision the court will order the Transportation and Communication Ministry and to the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) [official websites] to lift the ban and allow the users to access YouTube in Turkish cyberspace.
Internet freedom remains [JURIST backgrounder] a controversial issue around the world, garnering significant attention over the past few years. Turkish President Abdullah Gul [BBC profile] approved legislation [JURIST report] in February tightening Internet restrictions and allowing the government to block websites without court approval. In January 2013 a Canadian human rights group reported[JURIST report] that a number of nations are using American-made Internet surveillance technology to censor content and track citizens. China adopted new restrictions [JURIST report] on Internet service providers (ISPs) in December 2012, requiring ISPs to monitor and report online content found to be illegal. In July 2012 the UN Human Rights Council passed [JURIST report] its first resolution to protect the free speech of individuals online.