Nils Muižnieks: Turkey’s tough internet restrictions “further limit free expression”

Tough new internet restrictions in Turkey are moving the country in the wrong direction, according to the Commissioner for Human Rights.

“The amendments approved yesterday by the Turkish Parliament toughen the restrictions already in place on the Internet and further limit channels for free expression in the country,” Nils Muižnieks wrote in a Facebook post published earlier this evening.

“By extending the grounds for restricting access to websites, and significantly expanding the powers of the Presidency of Telecommunication and Communication, they go in the opposite direction to the previous recommendations of my Office to Turkey regarding freedom of expression on the Internet.

“They raise new concerns in terms of compatibility with European human rights standards on freedom of expression and freedom of the media, data protection, as well as access to effective domestic remedies when these rights are violated. The hasty and opaque manner in which these amendments have been pushed through the Parliament, without any genuine consultation of the major stakeholders, is also regrettable.

“The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media outlined her concerns in an assessment of these amendments published last week (http://www.osce.org/fom/110884). I fully share these concerns.

“I urge the Turkish authorities to reconsider them and amend the Internet legislation in a way that would foster freedom of expression online, not limit it further.”

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