Thursday, March 08, 2007

"Nobody's business but the Turks'"...*

Here's a pretty little case of censorship in what purports to be a modern-day European state. A Turkish court has banned all access to the YouTube website from within Turkey. Why? According to the BBC, citing Turkish media sources, it's all down to dissing Ataturk, the founding father of modern Turkey:

[T]here has been a "virtual war" between Greek and Turkish
users of the site, with both sides posting insulting videos. The clip prompting the ban reportedly dubbed Ataturk and Turks homosexuals.
Insulting Ataturk, the founding father of modern Turkey, or "Turkishness" is an offence which can result in a prison sentence.
Is it a characteristic of "Turkishness" to overreact to criticism, no matter how puerile? This Ataturk/Turk-bashing law is nothing new, and regularly makes news headlines. But choosing to impose a blanket ban on access to YouTube (and that's ALL of YouTube, not just the offending clips) rather than just taking down the clips that breach the law or prosecuting the people who put them up (which I'd also oppose, obviously) seems a draconian measure to take. Okay, so it's not the most pressing issue in Turkey, but for me, these little issues of everyday freedoms say just as much about a country as their wider political, economic and religious outlook. Is Turkey ready to join the EU? Hell no.

Mind you, it's not just Turkey that's attempting to crack down on internet freedoms. According to Wired, via AP, oh-so-liberal France has just introduced a new law that "makes it a crime for anyone who is not a professional journalist to film real-world violence and distribute the images on the Internet". The point? To discourage teenage hoodies from filming incidents of happy-slapping on their mobile and then stick it up on the net (probably on YouTube) for the entertainment of others. Good intentions, horrible implementation...

* In case you were wondering (with apologies for lack of access to any Turkey-based readers out there). I challenge you not to have this stuck in your head for the rest of the day.


At March 13, 2007 11:42 am, Blogger Little Atoms said...

Nous allons faire l'happy slap. Apres ca, nous jouns Babyfoot au l'auberge de jeunesse. J'aime bien le Babyfoot

At March 13, 2007 1:53 pm, Blogger Lady M said...

Y'a rien de mieux qu'une bonne game d'air-hockey, mon vieux.

At March 13, 2007 3:13 pm, Blogger Little Atoms said...

Pff! Les Quebecoises avec l'air hockey.
*Gallic shrug, lighting of Galoise, and pouring of 10th pastisse*


Post a Comment

<< Home