YouTube is facing a new challenge: the Istanbul First Criminal Peace Court in Turkey.
Access to the video-sharing site has been banned in Turkey after prosecutors told the court that videos deemed insulting to former Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had appeared on the site, the BBC reported. The videos were apparently part of a flame war between Greek and Turkish users of YouTube.
Insulting Ataturk or "Turkishness" is a criminal offense in Turkey.
The videos have been removed, but the court order shut down access to the site within the country anyway. The head of Turkey's largest telecom company said Turk Telecom had already blocked access to the site.
Blog community response:
"All this stupidity existed before YouTube, before the TV and before electricity. The 2007 version of the mirror is merely allowing society to see the best and worst of people much easier. Theoretically, seeing truth is better than denying it."
--The 463: Inside Tech Policy
"But the real problem here isn't the ban, the videos or YouTube -- it's with the laws regulating speech in Turkey. The country regularly charges writers and journalists with breaking the law prohibiting criticism of the country and Ataturk, most famously when it sentenced a Nobel Prize-winning author to prison for three years for comments made in an interview to a Swiss magazine, or more recently, when a Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor who had been similarly charged was murdered in January. What's perhaps a little annoying here is that YouTube actually agreed to take down the videos, rather than taking a stand against the ridiculous law. Of course, it's not the first time Google's rolled over for countries that want to censor the internet."
"Censorship has never solved anything, and it's naive to think that it will do any good this time. The Greeks and the Turks can move their argument to some forum or any other website, while people who just want to see some videos of people in funny hats making things that they like, will suffer."