Turkish president should veto Internet bill

San Francisco, February 6, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Turkish President Abdullah Gül to veto the Internet bill passed Wednesday by the Turkish Parliament. The bill would grant the Turkish government unprecedented control over the Internet by allowing Web pages to be blocked without a court order, requiring mandatory data retention by Internet Service Providers, and authorizing the government to seize user data on demand, all without meaningful procedural safeguards.

“These amendments have no place in a democratic society. They go far beyond the restrictions on speech allowed by Turkey’s existing Internet law and they are inconsistent with international norms,” said Geoffrey King, CPJ’s Internet Advocacy Coordinator. “Moreover, it’s hard to believe these powers will be exercised in a restrained manner, given the dismal press freedom record of the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”

Turkey’s existing Internet law, Law 5651, has already been used to block thousands of websites by court order. Turkish authorities issue three times more requests to Google to remove content than any other country, according to Google, and Turkey is the world’s worst jailer of journalists, according to CPJ research.