Ban on Social Media

Access to social media sites, Twitter and Whatsapp gets a ban in Turkey on Friday, an internet monitoring group said, following the detentions of 11 pro-Kurdish lawmakers in the mainly Kurdish south-east overnight. They have implemented throttling, an expert from the monitoring group Turkey Blocks said, a method of slowing certain websites to the point where they are unusable.

This move is made after Turkey remains under a state of emergency imposed in the wake of the July 15 failed coup, which critics say has gone well beyond targeting the actual coup plotters. Thirteen staff from the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper, including the editor-in-chief, were detained on Monday, further heightening strains in Turkish society.

The Turkish government has not kerbed internet access in the country for the first time. Turkey’s parliament in April 2015, approved legislation to tighten control over the Internet by allowing the government to block websites without prior judicial authorisation. The government blocked Twitter and YouTube in March 2014 after they were used to spread a torrent of audio recordings implicating Erdogan — then premier — and his inner circle in an alleged corruption scandal.

Restrictions and ban on messaging service WhatsApp and Instagram have also now been detected, validating widespread user complaints about WhatsApp service failure in Turkey – the first time nationwide restrictions have been exposed on the popular messaging app in recent years. Internet restrictions are increasingly being used in Turkey to suppress media coverage of political incidents, a form of censorship deployed at short notice to prevent civil unrest.

Social media throttling and ban has frequently been implemented following national emergencies like terror attacks to censor media coverage and permits the authorities a degree of control over the narrative. President Erdogan is suppressing free speech, and it will not result in his favour, he has to understand if people can save his coup; they even can bring a coup. Stopping people from using social media and implementing restrictions over internet browsing never pays off. Eventually, it makes the society a pressure cooker which suddenly gets bursts.

President Erdogan has to control his anger and revise his political approach. He should remain as a democratically elected president, not as a dictator who imposes his agendas and will. He has to follow the mandate given to him by the people of Turkey.This ban will leave people of Turkey powerless. It will frustrate them, and they will seek out alternative measures of unblocking Facebook and Twitter in Turkey.


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