On 6 February, the Turkish Government approved a bill that would grant further powers to the judiciary and administrative authorities to block content on the internet.
The measures amend Law No. 5651 on Regulating Broadcasting in the Internet and Fighting Against Crimes Committed through Internet Broadcasting, and include the following provisions:
- Individuals claiming their personal rights have been breached by online content may either request that the content provider / hosting company remove the material, or apply to court for a blocking order. The judge will be required to rule on the application within 24 hours.
- In a particularly controversial amendment, administrative orders to block access to internet content may be issued where a delay "would result in adverse consequences regarding privacy". This would allow the Turkish telecommunications authority (TIB) to block a website without first obtaining a court order. Such an administrative order can be appealed to the courts within 7 days.
- ISPs and hosts will be required to retain individual web users' data traffic records for a period of up to two years and to provide this information to authorities on demand.
The proposals have met with fierce criticism from opposition parties and the international community, and there is pressure on the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, not to ratify the new measures. Amnesty International has also spoken out against the reforms, which are widely thought to have been introduced to prevent the online publication of material relating to corruption charges.