Turkey has blocked Twitter after its prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, threatened to "root out" the social media network where wiretapped recordings have been leaked. These records were reported to reveal government corruption, hardly what
the government needs ahead of local elections.
Twitter as blocked by Turkey's telecommunications censor (TIB) with a statement citing court orders relating to the recordings. But the Internet Technologies Board, BTK claimed nonsense about it being to avoid the possible future victimisation of citizens.
Erdogan had made repeated threats to shut down social media sites after audio recordings of his alleged conversations suggesting corruption were leaked. Two weeks ago he suggested that a total ban on sites like Facebook and YouTube were in his
thoughts. The point was dismissed days later by the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, but Erdogan then repeated his claims. We will wipe out all of these, Erdogan told thousands of supporters at a political rally.
Offsite Article: Turkey's Twitter Ban Collapse Fueled By VPNs and DNS Tricks
Friday's news that the Turkish government had banned its citizens from accessing Twitter was depressing but an opportunity to be embraced. Forewarned is forearmed, and the fact that Turks are learning how to beat censorship with VPNs and DNS tricks
better prepares them for the future.
Turkey has stepped up its efforts to block access to Twitter after many users found ways to flout its ban. Internet service providers in the country are now blocking the addresses used by the site, making it significantly more difficult to get
around the restrictions, analysts have said.
Initially, Turkish internet service providers (ISPs) were simply redirecting traffic to a government webpage by forcing the DNS servers, which send to the correct IP addresses for the site they are
trying to access, to redirect away from Twitter's homepage.
Now, however, ISPs have begun blocking the IP addresses used by Twitter themselves, according to an analysis carried out by internet monitoring firm Renesys. And a Turkish government
webpage confirmed the block, citing court orders.
The Turkish government reinforced its heavily criticised censorship of social media by blocking YouTube a week after it restricted access to the micro-blogging platform Twitter. The latest curbs came hours after an audio recording of a high-level
security meeting was leaked on the video-sharing website.
Several similarly incriminating recordings, allegedly showing massive government corruption and prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's direct influence on the media, have
been leaked on social media in recent weeks. Erdogan has dismissed the allegations as lies and blackmail, accusing the opposition of trying to undermine the success of his Justice and Development party (AKP) ahead of critical local elections on Sunday.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog(an continues to double down on Internet censorship. A week after Turkish ISPs blocked Twitter Turkey's telecommunications authority has blocked YouTube . The block began to be rolled out hours after a leaked
recording published anonymously on YouTube purported to show a conversation in which Turkey's foreign minister, spy chief, and a top general appear to discuss scenarios that could lead to a Turkish attack against militants in Syria.
The fallout from the Erdogan government's censorship spree has not been limited to platforms that host embarrassing political content. When Turkish Internet users handily circumvented the original Twitter block by using Google's DNS
servers, Google's DNS was itself blocked. Now it appears that just as Turkey's ISPs are rolling out a block on YouTube, they are also blocking access to the Tor Project's website , where users can download the Tor Browser Bundle. The Tor browser is a
powerful tool in the censorship circumvention toolbox because it is exceptionally difficult to filter Tor traffic . Mirror Mirror
For users in Turkey who have already downloaded the Tor Browser Bundle, censorship circumvention
should continue without a hitch. And for the users who have not yet done so, it's not too late. The Tor project's website has many mirrors:
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTU K) has suspended the national broadcast license of Kanaltu rk TV, citing an administrative decision from years ago, a legal controversy that adds to concerns that state agencies are stepping up a
clampdown on any voice critical of the government.
The decision came as the government dragged its feet on lifting the Twitter ban, which was deemed illegal and unconstitutional by both an Ankara court and the Constitutional Court. The
government's tightening grip on any form of media is of serious concern ahead of local elections.
RTUK cited a 2010 decision of an administrative court which states the TV station cannot broadcast nationally but is allowed to broadcast regionally.
Update: ...But Erdogan still gets the country's support in elections
Erdogan's increasingly Islamist and imperialist AKP won a solid majority in voting across Turkey on Sunday, in what is seen as a referendum on his rule
In Sunday's vote across Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog(an's increasingly Islamist
and imperialistic Justice and Development AK party appeared to receive an overwhelming majority of the votes cast.
In a move that has sparked concern among Egyptian secularists, the country's censorship committee this week banned 20 music videos allegedly containing heavy sexual connotations and featuring scantily-dressed female singers and models.
The banning of the video clips comes amid heated debate on raunchy music videos broadcast on some of the Arab satellite channels. In recent years, an increasing number of popular Arab female singing-stars have challenged social norms and broken
cultural taboos by revealing more flesh in their video clips. The trend has stirred controversy in Egypt's deeply conservative Muslim society with many Egyptians rejecting what they describe as the pornification of pop music . They insist that the
graphic, semi-porn sexual scenes featured in some of the music videos are not in line with Islamic tradition and culture .
Saudi censors have banned hundreds of books, including works by renowned Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish. The local Okaz daily reported that organisers at the Riyadh International Book Fair had confiscated more than 10,000 copies of 420 books during the exhibition.
Local news website Sabq.org reported that members of the kingdom's notorious religious police had protested at blasphemous passages in works by the late Darwish, widely considered one of the greatest Arab poets, pressing organisers to withdraw
all his books from the fair. Other banned books include:
Works by Iraq's most famous modern poet, Badr Shaker al-Sayyab
Iraqi poet, Abdul Wahab al-Bayati
Palestinian poet Muin Bseiso.
When will the Saudi Woman Drive a Car? by Abdullah al-Alami,
The History of
Feminism in Islam.
Books by Azmi Bishara, a former Arab Israeli MP who left the Jewish state in 2007
Revolution , a book by Wael Ghonim, a secular Egyptian and former Google executive who became an icon
of the country's 2011 uprising
A new novel by an English professor has been banned there with little explanation for the reason.
Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar said her book, Love Comes Later , highlights the dilemmas facing those from traditional societies with
modern ambitions. She said she offered to consider a separate edition for Qatar when the book was submitted to the ministry of culture for approval, but received no reply.
Although one Qatari media report focused on a single kiss, Rajakumar
did not speculate on the reason for the censorship:
The distributor's agent told me the officials told him, the book was banned because it was about 'Qatar and Qataris,' she said by email. They did not further
elaborate to me or to the distributor.
The decision to ban the book for sale in Qatar does not prevent the rest of the world from reading it or my writing it. Nor did the content prevent the dozen or so Qatari male and female
citizens from reading early drafts, offering ideas, or supporting the book even now.
On her website Rajakumar said she wrote Love Comes Later knowing there was a possibility it would not be published in the country where it was
set. So she tried to write within the sensibilities of the public culture, which means the big three objections of sex, atheism and politics are not included in her examination of life in Qatar for modern twentysomething Qataris. She
There's a death by car accident; reluctant engagements; difficult conversations with parents; and of course, one passionate kiss
Censor boards in Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have informed Paramount they will not release the Biblical epic which is release later this month. Similar rulings are expected in Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait, according to Paramount insiders.
The National Media Council (NMC), the UAE film censor, confirmed that the film had been banned for reasons of religious intolerance. Juma Obaid Al Leem, director of the Media Content Tracking Department at the NMC said:
The film conflicts with all religions. Out of respect for these religious sentiments, we are banning the film.
In Egypt, the leading Sunni Muslim institute Al-Azhar issued a statement condemning the movie, saying
it should be banned in that country.
Al-Azhar renews its rejection to the screening of any production that characterizes Allah's prophets and messengers and the companions of the Prophet [the religious character
Muhammad], the statement read. Therefore, Al-Azhar announces the prohibition of the upcoming film about the Allah's messenger Noah.
The film was not without censorship issues in the US. The studio was said to be concerned that the
director's version may not go down well with the religious. However screenings with test audiences did not convince the studio that was a need for change. So the original director's version got the go ahead. However as a gesture of goodwill toward
religious groups, Paramount agreed to alter the marketing materials for Noah to make clear that it is a creative rather than a literal adaptation of the Bible story. A disclaimer was added to posters:
The film is
inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be
found in the Book of Genesis.
Turkey's desperate sounding prime minister has warned that his government could ban social media networks YouTube and Facebook after a raft of online leaks added momentum to a spiralling corruption scandal.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already increased
his government censorship of the Internet, generating criticism at home and abroad about rights in the once EU-hopeful country. Erdogan told private ATV television in an interview:
There are new steps we will take in
that sphere after March 30... including a ban (on YouTube, Facebook),
Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has come under mounting pressure since last week, when audio recordings were leaked in which Erdogan and his
son allegedly discuss how to hide vast sums of money.
Turkish censors have banned Danish director Lars Von Trier's cmovie epic Nymphomaniac from theatres for its extensive nudity and no-holds-barred sex scenes.
The first part was planned to be screened in Turkey on March 14 and the second part
on March 21. But Turkey's cinema board, which includes representatives from the culture, interior and education ministries, banned the movie outright by a majority vote on Monday.
Yamac Okur, a dissenting member of the board, said the decision was
tantamount to censorship .
Barring any cinema movie from commercial screening is unacceptable. It could have been displayed by age rating. Otherwise, it is censorship.
The Turkish government has pushed draconian internet censorship legislation through parliament. The new law was met with outrage in Turkey, with opposition parties accusing the government of wanting to introduce ever tighter control by bypassing the
The regulations were adopted after a heated parliamentary debate during which one MP of the main opposition People's Republican party (CHP) compared the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to Hitler. Hasan Oren said:
When you came into power you talked of increasing democracy in Turkey, but now you are trying to implement fascism. Remember that Adolf Hitler used the same methods when he rose to power.
The law now needs to be
signed by the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, to come into effect.
The new measures will allow Turkey's telecommunications authority (TIB) to block any website within 24 hours without first seeking a court ruling. The law also obliges internet
providers to store all data on web users' activities for two years and make it available to the authorities upon request.
Update: Signed into law
19th February 2013. From israelnationalnews.com
Turkey's president, Abdullah Gul has signed into force a repressive law voted in by the government that would introduce further censorship of web use.
Gul said on his Twitter feed he promulgated the law - which the opposition and rights groups say
infringes on citizens' freedoms - after the government assured him it would soften parts of it through later amendments. He claimed:
I am aware of the problems mainly on two points.... These concerns will be taken into
account in the new law
The government is now proposing that the internet censors of TIB will have to inform a judge about any decision to block a web page, according to the Hurriyet newspaper. The judge would then have to issue a
ruling within 48 hours or the TIB move would be deemed invalid.
Police used water canon
and tear gas on Saturday against hundreds of people protesting against a new Internet law introducing even more censorship for Turkish surfers.
Protesters threw glass bottles, stones and other objects in the direction of heavily armed police
officers, who made several arrests. Later Saturday evening the demonstrators erected barricades and lit fires in garbage cans. The protests are taking place in Istanbul's main shopping area in Istiklal street, near Taksim Square, the site of clashes
between protesters and police in August.
27th February 2013. From todayszaman.com
The Turkish Parliament has amended the Internet censorship bill that has caused outrage in Turkey.
bill was approved by President Abdullah Gul last week, but he asked lawmakers to revise several articles he considered to be anti-democratic. One of the points he highlighted was the need to seek a court order for blocking websites in the hope of
avoiding arbitrary decisions.
Two articles of the controversial Internet censorship law which were considered problematic by the president have been changed three weeks after the bill was approved in Parliament.
According to the changes,
the Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) will be able to obtain Internet traffic data only with a court order, except when there is the threat of cyber attack or viruses. The TIB will now need the decision to block content to be approved by a criminal
court of peace within 24 hours and the court will have 48 hours in which to reach a decision.
In Turkey , around 200 journalists protested against censorship and government pressure on the media . Many referred to the ruling party when they chanted AK Party get your hands off the media .
Last week, recordings were leaked on the
Internet purportedly of Turkish TV executives manipulating an opinion poll and sacking reporters under government pressure. Journalist Hilmi Hacaloglu explained:
The government is trying to control the media by using
the bosses or the journalists close to them. Journalists are saying they've had enough and we gathered here in the traditional press district.
The protests have reignited a debate about restrictions on press freedom , something the EU
candidate nation is very familiar with.
Independent Iraqi daily newspaper Al-Sabah Al-Jadeed has survived numerous attempts to destroy it over its 10 year existence. But on 10 February, the newspaper's Baghdad office was bombed and now its future is in doubt. The daily may need to find a new
office, employees are fleeing, and its website is facing one DoS attack after another.
A few hours later the bombing a militia-like group entered the building. They came threatening us in broad daylight, so to speak, says Ismael Zayer, editor
in chief. The group escaped after employees managed to warn the police.
The bomb attacks followed a social media campaign to demand the closure of the newspaper after it published its weekly supplement Zad on 6 February. The supplement was devoted
to the 35th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and on the cover featured a caricature of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The cover caricature is a tradition for Zad, a supplement that came into existence in the first months of
the Arab Spring. These cartoons are never intended to be offensive or convey a negative message, they are just an alternative to uninteresting photos of VIPs.
The miserable Lebanese sports minister has got all het up about topless pictures of a Lebanese skier, currently competing at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Jackie Chamoun was taking part in a photo shoot for one of those 'tasteful' sexy calendars where
the models are nominally topless but with props obscuring the breasts. However a behind the scenes video, shows her properly undressed and preparing for the photoshoot. This was published online and wound up the mean minded press and politicians
The country's caretaker sports minister called for an investigation to take the required steps to avoid harming Lebanon's reputation and Lebanon's Olympic Committee condemned the skier's behaviour.
In a statement on her
Facebook page , Jackie Chamoun apologised and said:
The video and photos that you are now seeing are part of the making of, the preparation, it wasn't supposed to go public.
Anyways, I want to
apologise to all of you, I know that Lebanon is a conservative country and this is not the image that reflects our culture.
But thousands of people have come out to support the skier, with many criticising journalists and politicians
for highlighting a seemingly insignificant issue in light of the crises facing the country. The I Am Not Naked campaign has more than 5,000 likes on Facebook with male and female models holding up #stripforjackie signs in solidarity. An
Avaaz petition calling for the investigation into Chamoun's photos to be dropped received over 1,500 signatures in just 24 hours.
Middle East analyst and commentator, Patrick Galey, told Sky News:
I can't think
of a clearer example of Lebanese political impotence than ordering an inquiry into a photoshoot while bombs go off throughout the country and sorely needed reform and infrastructure projects gather dust.
Israel has passed the first step on the road to more severe banning of the use of Nazi symbols.
The ban would stop the use of all Nazi symbols and expressing remorse for the fall of the Nazi regime, and would make calling someone a Nazi illegal, with
a punishment of up to six months in prison and a fine of 100,000 shekels (around £20,000).
In addition, the law would ban the use of the Jewish Star of David symbol when used in the context of the internment camps or in reference to the
The bill has passed its first reading, but still has two more readings before it can become a law. The bill has been approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, meaning that it stands a better chance of becoming a law because
it has the backing of the coalition government.
The bill says the word Nazi would be banned for anything other than for the purpose of learning, documentation, scientific study or historical accounts. Also, using words that sound
like Nazi to indirectly refer to someone as an insult would also incur punishment.
The bill received objections from Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, saying that it might raise constitutional problems. He said:
Not all behavior that offends the public deserves to be made a crime. Is it proper in a democratic country to ban an entire world of images from the public discourse to protect people's feelings?
centrality and importance of the constitutional right to freedom of expression, any restriction on it must be examined meticulously and with exceptional caution.
Turkish police used water cannon and fired teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters that gathered in Istanbul's central Taksim Square on Saturday for a rally calling against a bill that would extend government censorship of the Internet.
rallies have been held around Turkey including the capital Ankara and coastal city of Izmir. In Ankara about 300 protesters gathered chanting slogans opposing the government and the internet bill, calling the Turkish prime minister a dictator.
Activists have called for protests against the law further limiting the use of the Internet and social media. The campaign is circulating the internet with the hashtag #sansu redurde.
The bill that includes the controversial law was
backed by a Turkish parliamentary committee on Thursday. It will be discussed by the National Assembly next week.
The new legislation allows government ministers to block websites deemed to infringe privacy, as well as force internet providers to
retain information on their users, for up to two years. The bill also mandates ISPs to restrict access to proxy sites, making circumventing the censorship nearly impossible.
The new legislation also raises fines for not removing the content
requested by the authorities. If the content is not removed within 24 hours after the request, it will be blocked by the Telecommunications Directorate (TI.B). In addition, web hosting services will be required to become part of a state-controlled
The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 USA crime comedy biography by Martin Scorsese. With Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie.
The National Media Council (NMC), the UAE film censor, has weighed in on the uproar
caused by Hollywood film The Wolf of Wall Street in the UAE. Audiences of the Martin Scorsese film, which released on Thursday, have complained that scenes were haphazardly chopped and dialogues muted, making most of it incomprehensible.
The film's runtime is 180 minutes on IMDb but cinemas in the UAE, however, list it at 135 minutes.
It seems that the film was massively pre-cut so that a single version could be distributed throughout the Gulf region. Juma Obaid Al Leem, director of the Media Content Tracking Department at the NMC said that the cuts were made even before it
came under their review:
We didn't touch the film. The distributor already made the cut [when it came to us]. When we asked the distributors, they said they cut all those scenes and words, because they want to
distribute the film in GCC.
Al Leem added that, following complaints from moviegoers, the NMC has instructed distributors to leave the editing to them.
[We have told them] next time, don't touch the
film. We will make the cuts. We will decide. Maybe some scenes will be accepted. Don't make any cut outside till they bring the full film and we will decide about the film, he said. We told them very clearly.
Reel Cinemas at The Dubai
Mall posted disclaimers outside its box office:
The Wolf of Wall Street contains muted words, and some scenes have been removed as they were not considered suitable. Reel Cinemas has no control on the censorship and we
apologise for an inconveniences caused.
Turkey's top business group has warned that a government-led bill to increase control over the Internet is worrying and the planned regulations might lead to wide censorship of the Internet.
In a written statement, the Turkish Industry and Business
Association (TUSI.AD) noted the issues of freedom of speech, intellectual property and personal secrecy on the Internet should be delicately handled.
The TUSI.AD noted access to thousands of websites has been blocked since Law No. 5651, widely
known as the Internet Law of Turkey, came into effect in July, 2007:
The law, which results in limiting the individual's fundamental rights and freedoms, has also been subject to a 'rights violation' ruling of the
European Court of Human Rights, the statement read. In such a situation, the planned amendments to the law are concerning and will increase censorship on the Internet. The draft should be cleared of articles that could harm the fundamental rights and
freedoms and the Internet economy that is growing every day.
Some articles added to an omnibus bill submitted to Parliament last week will permit authorities to limit access to the Internet and monitor all actions by individuals
online and keep such records for two years. The draft law will permit officials to limit keywords searches more easily, meaning access to videos on video-sharing websites such as YouTube that include keywords deemed problematic by Turkish authorities
will be blocked.
All individuals' Internet records, including details about what sites they have visited, which words they have searched for on the web and what activity they have engaged in on social networking websites, will be kept for one or
two years, according to the draft law.
Websites will be forced to join some sort of registration body controlled by the government. In addition the government has specified that ISPs must censor nominated websites more quickly, and for the
implemented blocking to be more robust against simple circumvention techniques currently used by Turkish people to work around government censorship.