It looks like Turkey has some serious issues regarding online free speech. On Saturday, the country has blocked Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia over an alleged “smear campaign.” As Reuters reports, some of the articles purported that the Turkish government was coordinating with militant groups, which the country deemed improper or a threat to national security.
According to a monitoring group Turkey Blocks, the block was detected at 8.00 AM local time. “The loss of availability is consistent with internet filters used to censor content in the country,” it said.
— Turkey Blocks (@TurkeyBlocks) April 29, 2017
Turkey used an administrative order based on Law No. 5651 to block access to the online encyclopedia. The law approves the government broad authority to regulate online content. As the state-run media outlet Anadolu Agency reported, the communication ministry said what offended the government that Wikipedia hosted some articles and comments saying the country was supporting terrorism.
“Instead of coordinating against terrorism,” the Ministry says, “it has become part of an information source which is running a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena.”
The Ministry said they asked Wikipedia to remove the content. However, Jimmy Wales refused it by saying, “access to information is a fundamental human right.”
— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) April 29, 2017
This isn’t the first time Turkey is taking a step to quash free speech. Last year the country put 81 journalists into jail, which made it the world’s top jailer of journalists.