Turkish court blocks Twitter, issues media ban over Suruç bombing

22/07/2015 14:56

Turkish court blocks Twitter, issues media ban over Suruç bombing

A Turkish court has blocked Twitter and ordered a publication ban on photos and videos of the deadly bombing in southeastern Turkey in the latest instance of gag orders on the media after major crises, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

At least 32 political activists and aid volunteers were killed in a municipal culture center in Şanlıurfa’s district of Suruç on July 20, right before they were due to cross the border to help with rebuilding the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane.

The Suruç Magistrate of Peace banned “the publication of visual material related to the terror attack” by newspapers and televisions on July 22, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The court also blocked Internet access to the images, the agency added.

Daily Hürriyet has learned that the court ordered Twitter to remove 107 pieces of content. Twitter quickly complied by removing 50 articles, but failed to remove the remaining 57 before the four-hour deadline imposed by the court, which led to the censure.

A senior Turkish official told Reuters that Twitter had removed the remaining images, too, and that the ban was expected to be lifted shortly.

The hashtag #TwitterBlockinTurkey entered the worlwide trending topics on Twitter soon after the fresh ban.

From 2010 to 2014, Turkish media has faced over 150 gag orders, daily Hürriyet reported last year. The subjects of the bans have included deadly attacks, corruption cases, wiretapping of officials, a mining disaster and even football match-fixing claims.

In March, Turkey blocked access to Twitter, hours after then-Prime Minister Recep Erdogan vowed to close down the social media platform. The access was later restored by Turkey’s Constitutional Court, which cited a violation of citizen rights.

On July 21, the governorate of Şanlıurfa, announced a ban on rallies, marches and similar gatherings in order to prevent any future potential incidents.

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