Minister: Internet bill to reduce censorship

Photo: Minister: Internet bill to reduce censorship / Turkey

Turkey's communications minister said on Thursday that a new legislation granting the official cyberspace controller the authority to block access to websites will actually make it harder to apply censorship, Anadolu Agency reported.

Lutfi Elvan commented on the new bill approved by the parliament which stipulates that a court decision will not be required for the official cyberspace authority to block access to a website.

Criticizing the media and opposition claims that the bill will authorize wide scale Internet censorship, Elvan said, "We are not putting a ban on the Internet, we are getting rid of the previous mechanism which could easily ban the Internet."

The new mechanism will make it possible to block access to specific contents instead of entire websites, said Elvan.

The legislation will also require websites to keep records of their users' activities for two years and make them available to officials on request.

Elvan also responded to claims that the bill became the focus of the government after an anti-graft operation targeted some senior figures close to the government.

He dismissed the claims, saying the draft bill had been finished and brought to the parliament's agenda before December 17.

A comprehensive anti-graft probe launched on December 17 caused controversy after it led to high-profile arrests. The government said the probe was a "dirty plot" against it, constructed by a "state within the state" nestled within the judiciary and police.

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