The Twitter account of Medya News was, this afternoon, apparently “withheld in Turkey in response to a legal demand.”
Consequently, through Twitters action, because of a Turkish court case in relation to our Twitter account, people living in Turkey can no longer view our Twitter feed for information and stories about the Kurds and their experiences inside Turkey and all of our other content which focusses on human rights, ecological issues, women rights, Kurdish rights, LGBTI rights, the struggles and hardships of Turkish and Kurdish and ‘Othered’ people in Turkey as well as analysis of the conflict between the Turkish Army and the PKK, and other conflicts occurring in Syria and worldwide.
The banning of our Twitter account in Turkey by Twitter serves to highlight the role that social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook play in supporting the Turkish regime in censoring citizens rights inside Turkey, leading to questions as to whether these social media giants are more interested in profits than freedom of expression and human rights.
The decision comes as Twitter announced in March this year that it would establish a legal entity in Turkey in order to continue operating in the country, as the government had passed a controversial social media law last year.
In March this year, the social media company stated that it had reviewed the new Turkish internet law and made the decision to comply with it, but it promised to continue “defending open, public conversation and ensuring our service is available to people everywhere.” Its withholding of Medya News’ twitter account has, however, raised questions regarding its stated stance.
Twitter’s decision came after Turkey imposed heavy fines upon the company in January this year for not establishing a Twitter office in Turkey, as required by the new Turkish internet law which forces social media companies to maintain representatives in Turkey to deal with complaints about content on their platforms. Several human rights groups and freedom of expression organisations have criticized the law which, they argue, amounts to imposing censorship and violating the right to privacy and access to information.
According to the Freedom of Expression Association, more than 450,000 domains, 120,000 links and 42,000 tweets were blocked in Turkey as of October 2020. The twitter account of Medya News has seemingly just been added to those numbers.
The withholding of Medya News’ twitter account in Turkey also comes just days after it was reported that the Turkish media regulator RTUK was threatening media and social media for their reporting of the wild fires that were raging out of control for days.
The editorial board of Medya News has stated:
“As the Medya News editorial board, it would be insincere for us to say that we did not expect such a ban in Turkey, a country about which we have published countless reports on how freedom of expression and freedom of the media was so relentlessly violated. Our very own news sources and many of the media outlets we work closely with have been subjected to similar and much worse attacks. So, Medya News will continue to practice independent journalism and report the news based on the realities of the oppressed peoples in Turkey and Kurdistan and around the world, being aware of the fact that such attacks on freedom of media can only be defeated through a continuous media struggle.”
Medya News has officially appealed to Twitter against the decision.