Thursday, September 27, 2012

Possible New YouTube Ban in Turkey: Blocking the Innocence of Muslims*

For years numerous internet sites, such as the social media site YouTube (see BBC article), were closed down in Turkey for containing videos that insulted the memory of the founder of the modern Turkish state, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (among other reasons). Of course, for the desperate ones who could not live without it, they simply found a user friendly “back door” entrance to enter the site. In a 2011 blog of mine, which covered the massive demonstration against goverment censorship of the internet, I even commented how at times the Turkish President and Prime Minister ridiculed the law claiming they themselves used the banned site.

Two years later, upon an initiative of a government minister, You Tube is once again in danger of being banned from Turkish internet space. A court has ruled that Turkish authorities have the right to ban internet sites which show any part of the controversial movie the Innocence of Muslims.  I will not expand here concerning my thoughts of the movie itself (see my previous blog); however, I will say that just like the previous bans, in no way will this block the movie from being seen. It is almost as if the government believes the banning of the video will protect someone or some group from the unknown, especially when the unknown is nothing more than a shoddy production which does not deserve the time of day. The move on behalf of the Turkish government is sensationalist since I am sure before the movie there were plenty of clips on YouTube, which degraded Islam; just as there is plenty of anti-Semitic material on the site (some originating in Turkey).  So, go ahead and ban the terrible blasphemous video, and see that countering Islamophobia, and hate, cannot be solved by closing eyes of your own citizens.   

*For more on the possible see the Hurriyet Daily News article


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