John Palfrey, executive director of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, is in Turkey discussing that country's struggle with the prospect of internet censorship. Palfrey is the author of our recent book Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering, which is the topic that's brought him to Turkey. In a blog post, John writes that "the state is on the knife’s edge, between one world and another, just as Istanbul sits, on the Bosporus, at the juncture between 'East and West.'"
As Turkey looks ahead toward the day when they join the European Union once and for all, one of the many policy questions on the national agenda is whether and how to filter the Internet. There is sensitivity around content of various sorts: criticism of the republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk; gambling; and obscenity top the list. The parliament passed a law earlier in 2007 that gives a government authority a broad mandate to filter content of this sort from the Internet. To date, I’m told, about 10 orders have been issued by this authority, and an additional 40 orders by a court to filter content. The process is only a few months old; much remains to be learned about how this law, known as “5651,” will be implemented over time.
Read the whole of John's fascinating post here.