The Turkish government continues its campaign to restrict the social media within its country. It imposed a ban against YouTube yesterday (March 27) after raising concerns that the Website is involved in issues of ‘national security.’ The move came just a few hours following the posting online of an audio recording that was believed to be a leakage of a conversation between several government officials.
According to reports, the move to block the video-sharing site was imposed by the telecommunications authority of Turkey or TIB. The agency reportedly described its measure as ‘precautionary administrative measure.’ Just last month, Turkey passed a controversial Internet law that gives the telecommunications watchdog the permission to block online sites even without any court order.
Second time around
This is not the first time that YouTube was banned in Turkey. In 2007, the Website was already blocked in the country, still for political reasons. That prohibition took three years to be lifted. This time, the Turkish government said it is willing to immediately lift the ban if YouTube would agree to pull out the contested audio recording from its site.
Last week, Turkey also banned Twitter. That was after the microblogging site became a venue to spread links about a video that implicates Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a brewing corruption scandal. Back then, there were already speculations that YouTube would be the next target.
Leaked audio recording
The move against YouTube came after a leaked audio recording of an allegedly confidential discussion between a foreign minister, the Turkish intelligence chief, and undersecretary of the foreign ministry, and a deputy chief of the general staff. They were supposedly discussing about possible military action in Syria. That was posted by an anonymous account in the Website. Many speculations are now emerging over that account.
Meanwhile, Turkey is expected to continue incurring bad publicity and criticisms internationally over its act. European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes has described the action as another ‘desperate and depressing’ tactic from Turkey. The White House has also urged the Turkish government to review its policy against the social media. Of course, many users of social networking sites within the country fell bad about such restrictions. Right now, they continue to access Twitter and YouTube through the virtual private network or VPN connections that are able to get around and pass the restriction.