Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Life without You Tube

I don't tend to foray much into Turkish matters on this blog as you will have noticed. Unless I feel particularly infuriated about goings on in these parts. Today, I have good cause to be infuriated. An Istanbul court has issued an order denying access to YouTube following an escalating dispute between Greek and Turkish users of the site. The last time I checked , the ban was still in force. For devoted supporters of Turkey’s EU bid, the very fact that I can’t really comment much on this particular story should tell you something….And then there's this. Depressing, isn't it?

13 comments:

CityUnslicker said...

it started this way in many decent countries before the descent...

Ian said...

n on heir wanted to show his friends his own 17 seconds of YouTube fame. Unfortunately, the great wall of LeedsLearningNetwork told him it was unsuitable.

They probably have a point for a primary school!

Ian said...

Oops- the last post was meant to start "My Son and Heir"

Newmania said...

IT I dare not press the link in case it starts playing music , I am at work..I `ll wait for others to venture in

Colin said...

Yes, Instanbultory, the fact that you can't comment on the matter without risking a prison term tells us how the future of the citizens of all EU member states might look.

BTW, the Turkish court has permitted again access to Youtube after the latter has removed the vids.

Newmania said...

That is an intersting thought Colin !

James said...

Rubbish, Colin. Istanbultory can comment as much as he likes - it's not like he's got his passport details up on this blog, is it? And there's been plenty of people screaming about the ban - look at the front page of today's Milliyet, for instance.

The thing that really does need to be understood about the YouTube ban is that action was taken because an anti-Atatürk video was posted, not because an anti-Turkish video appeared. There's been anti-Turkish material on YouTube, just like on the rest of the web, for donkey's years, but
Atatürk is the pinnacle of sensitivity in this country. Many Turkish internet users remember mustafakemal.net, which was a website dedicated to taking the piss out of Atatürk. That website was blocked for eons too. It's all about sacrilege, really.

This isn't to say the ban isn't wrong. It's the worst example of mass censorship in Turkey for years. It just doesn't surprise me. The thing about censorship is that it never works - now everybody wants to go and see the offending video. How many people can say they knew it existed before all this hoo-ha began?

Colin said...

James,

Thank you for your information that it is more an anti-Ataturk than an anti-Turkish video. I hope you don't mind that I differ in regard to three minor details.

"Istanbultory can comment as much as he likes - it's not like he's got his passport details up on this blog, is it?"

Yes he does. Every online access has an IP address and the internet provider knows the details of the person using this IP address. Do you remember the case of a Chinese citizen who got arrested after Yahoo in Australia provided the Chinese authorities with his IP address? Well, the Turkish authorities are probably able to do the same.

”The thing about censorship is that it never works”

Are you sure?

”now everybody wants to go and see the offending video” That’s correct but it’s not available anymore on Youtube.

”It's the worst example of mass censorship in Turkey for years.”

I agree. Especially, since the content of media in a non-Turkish country is censored. If all countries would censor each other’s media, that might be the end for free speech.

istanbultory said...

Colin, thank you. I think James is going native....

James said...

Whenever a court in Turkey would order the police to impound all copies of a certain book because it "threatened the security of the state", an effective black market would spring up and people would go out to buy it simply because it was banned.

Or take what's been happening in Britain recently - the BBC's cash for honours story got far more attention because the attorney-general took out an injunction. An abortive attempt to stop a Guardian story the following week meant that people combed their way through it, trying to spot what the incriminating piece of information was.

Yes, I'm perfectly sure, censorship doesn't work in places like Turkey and Britain. China's another matter altogether...

Colin said...

James,

"Yes, I'm perfectly sure, censorship doesn't work in places like Turkey and Britain."

That's certainly true for intelligent people interested in finding out the truth like yourself. However, the large majority of people get their information from the mass media. And it seems to me that censorship makes a considerable difference with regard to the number of people having access to the forbidden information. Or am I wrong?

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