Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Turkey court orders block on Facebook pages insulting Prophet Muhammad

A Turkish court ordered Sunday a block on access to a
Facebook Ronald Dwyer
number of Facebook pages that share materials insulting Prophet Mohammad.

The Golbasi Duty Magistrate Court gave the order on the request of Prosecutor Harun Ceylan, who was investigating the pages on social media.

The court decided that Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, would be blocked Turkey if Facebook fails to implement the order.

The court’s decision has been forwarded to the Presidency of Telecommunication and Communication and to the Access Provider Association.

Previously, a court in Turkey's southeastern Diyarbakir province ruled on Jan. 14 to block access to web pages showing Charlie Hebdo's latest cover featuring a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad.

The cover depicts Prophet Muhammad in a white dress and shedding a tear, holding up a sign reading, “Je suis Charlie” -- slogan popularized after Paris attacks -- below the headline "All is forgiven."

On Jan. 7, 12 people were massacred in a gun attack in the Paris headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo magazine.

“In comparison with Twitter and YouTube, Facebook cooperates with the Turkish authorities much better,” said Yaman Akdeniz, a cyberlaw professor at Bilgi University in Istanbul. “Therefore, it’s not surprising that Facebook removed these pages right away.”

The company’s most recent public report on compliance with government requests covers the first half of 2014. In that time, Facebook said, India asked the company to block almost 5,000 pieces of online content, the most of any country. Turkey was second, with nearly 1,900 pieces of content blocked at the government’s request, and Pakistan was third, at more than 1,700.

Facebook said that Turkish officials asked for details about local users of the service 249 times in the first half of 2014, and that the company complied in about three-fifths of the cases.

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