Unblocking of YouTube in Turkey a step in the right direction, says OSCE media freedom representative

Dunja Mijatović, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media today welcomed the lifting of the YouTube ban by the Turkish Constitutional Court, and called for the immediate implementation of the decision.

“The two-months long blocking of YouTube was a clear violation of freedom of expression and media freedom in the country,” Mijatović said.

On 29 May the Constitutional Court ruled that the blanket ban on the video-sharing website, imposed on 27 March, violated individual rights of Internet users and freedom of speech. The decision came in response to three individual appeals on the ban on the grounds of a breach of rights. Although two separate court decisions called for the lifting of the ban in April, the telecommunications regulator TİB said it would keep the ban as long as alleged criminal content remains on the site.

“I urge the telecommunications authority to immediately restore access to YouTube in accordance with this final court decision,” the Representative said, adding that her Office is monitoring the accessibility of the site in Turkey.

Mijatovic recalled the recent two-week ban on Twitter which ended following the Constitutional Court decision on 2 April, which declared the ban in breach of individual rights and the right to free expression.

“The importance of these two decisions cannot be overstated,” she said. “They send a very important message to society that limiting free expression runs against the country’s fundamental values and is therefore illegal.”