The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today expressed concern at Turkey’s recent decision to block access to the social media platform Twitter, noting that it is – along with any decision to curb freedom of expression online – in contradiction with the country’s international human rights commitments.
“As we stated on 14 February, we are concerned that legislative amendments adopted by the Turkish Parliament in the form of law no. 6518 allow Turkey’s telecommunications authority (Telecommunications Communication Directorate) to block websites without first seeking a court order,” stated OHCHR Spokesperson Rupert Colville, at the press conference in Geneva earlier today.
Mr. Colville further explained that “the law, as it stands, appears to be incompatible with Turkey’s international human rights obligations, in particular those related to freedom of expression and opinion and the right to privacy.”
“As the General Assembly recently affirmed in November 2013, the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online,” said Mr. Colville, urging the Turkish authorities “to rescind the blocking of Twitter and to review laws No.5651 and 6518 to bring them in line with international human rights standards.”
According to media reports, the Turkish Government announced on 20 March that access to Twitter would be blocked, as unrest builds following recent allegations of corruption against top officials.