Vimeo blocked in Turkey after amendment to Internet law

January 09, 2014, Thursday/ 23:53:00

Vimeo, a US-based video-sharing website on which users can upload, share and view videos, has been blocked in Turkey following a ruling by the Criminal Court of Peace late on Thursday.

The decision came after a deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) introduced an amendment to Law No. 5651 on cybercrimes, a move that could pave the way for the government to censor the Internet and social media as well as profile Internet users.

The move has raised concerns over the government's increasing encroachment into people's private lives as well as different mediums on which people can express their social and political opinions.

“The government is making an effort to silence the Internet and social media, just as it did with the media following the [recent] corruption operation,” Emrehan Halıcı, deputy chairman of the Republican People's Party (CHP), said on Thursday.

According to the changes, which were included in an omnibus bill from the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, the minister of transport, maritime affairs and communications as well as the head of the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) will be able to block websites without obtaining a court order.

The blocking of Vimeo comes after protesters frequently used the website to share videos covering the nationwide anti-government demonstrations during month-long protests last summer over the government's proposed plan to redevelop Taksim's Gezi Park.

The move is seen by many people as an attempt to control Internet tools to prevent dissidents and citizen journalists from sharing video footage regarding any social and political activity.

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