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Journalists hold placards on January 10, 2016, during a march in Istanbul as they protest against the imprisonment of journalists. On July 16, 2019, a Turkish court ordered service providers to block access to several news sites. (AFP/Ozan Kose)

Turkish court orders service providers to block access to news sites

August 6, 2019 4:05 PM ET

Istanbul, August 6, 2019--An Ankara court on July 16 ordered Turkish internet service providers to block access in Turkey to 136 web addresses, independent news website Bianet reported today. The blocked addresses include the websites of news outlets Bianet, ETHA news agency, Halkın Sesi TV, Özgür Gelecek, osp.org, geziyisavunuyoruz.org, Gazete Fersude, Yeni Demokratik Gençlik, Umut Gazetesi, Kızıl Bayrak, Marksist Teori, Direnişteyiz, and Mücadele Birliği, as well as their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts, Bianet reported.

The order, from the 3rd Ankara Court of Penal Peace, has not been implemented, according to Bianet. Bianet reported that the order came after a request filed to the court by the Gendarmerie General Command, a division of the military. In the Bianet report, a lawyer for the news site said the outlet was notified of the July verdict today, and that the justification for the action is not clear. Bianet is appealing the order, the report said.

“CPJ strongly condemns the court order blocking access to Bianet and the websites of several other news outlets,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna from New York. “We call on the Turkish authorities to stop their ongoing campaign of censorship of the country’s independent media and allow people to get their news from wherever they wish.”

Blocking orders for certain news articles are common in Turkey, as CPJ research shows. However, blocking access to entire news websites is less common; leftist news website Sendika was blocked at least 62 times and now uses the address sendika63.com, CPJ has reported.

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