A Dark Tale of Internet: Turkey's shutdowns, government backed online harassment, blockings

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A Dark Tale of Internet: Turkey's shutdowns, government backed online harassment, blockings
Presenter(s) Gülsin Harman
Title(s)
Organization(s) International Press Institute (IPI)
Project(s) Internet freedom, online harassment, shutdowns, blockings
Country(ies) Turkey
Social media @gulsinharman
2017 theme Regions & Groups

For the first time, Turkey has been rated "not free" in the annual Freedom of the Net report from Freedom House. "Network shutdowns, social media blocking, nationwide cyberattacks" are the common features of Internet in Turkey.

The session offers a broader landscape on Turkey's vibrant online sphere as it is turned into the last remaining space to have a political debate with increasing crackdown on traditional media. But major obstacles are more and more accentuated; e. g. a practical joke may be easily framed as an "insult to the president" and one may find herself/ himself in jail, independent news outlets' audience shrink with each blocking, moderate voices avoid social media with the fear of being labeled as "terrorism supporter" in case they don't vehemently join the official discourse, social media is throttled after major events in a direct violation of freedom of information, fake news are abundant to bewilder the public opinion.

So the question emerges: Is Internet has become a tool of oppression in Turkey?

In addition, government sponsored online harassment against journalists, public figures forms a formidable denunciation of the freedom of expression on the internet. International Press Institute's digital project On the Line aims to collect data about online attacks against journalists and provide both legal and technical help to the targeted ones. Given the recurrent attacks such as online harassment, smear campaigns, blocking of social media and independent news websites, hacking of social media accounts, existence of troll armies, IPI has logged more than 2,000 cases.

The conversation session will discuss the experience, support network options against online harassment in an expansive content of deterioration of online freedoms in Turkey.


Format Conversation
Target Groups Journalists, Advocacy/Policy Professional, Communications Professionals, Academia, Front Line Activists
Length 1 Hour
Skill Level Novice
Language English


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