Sharp increase in Turkey’s internet censorship – NGO

Turkish authorities' internet censorship has dramatically increased in recent years, according to a top official from rights watchdog Transparency International, Euronews reported.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a media school sponsored by Transparency International, the group Turkey Chair Oya Özarsalan said the number of web pages banned in Turkey was 113,398 in 2016, up from 40,000 in 2013.

Turkey has removed more than 100,000 items of content from the internet, according to Turkish news outlet Hürriyet. One of the world’s largest hosts of personal web pages, Blogspot, has been blocked in the country since July 2018. Turkey has also blocked access to Wikipedia since April 2017, citing a “coordinated smear campaign” against Turkey by the free online encyclopedia.

Transparency International noted the worldwide rise of corruption, which it linked particularly to worsening press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

Last week, the organisation released its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018, showing worsening trends in corruption in Turkey since 2013. This year the average score was 43, with over two-thirds of the countries analysed scoring below 50. Turkey’s score of 41 took the country’s run of worsening corruption to five straight years, with a nine-point drop placing it 78th on the overall list.

"These ratings reflect the deterioration of rule of law and democratic institutions, as well as a rapidly shrinking space for civil society and independent media, in those countries," said the organisation.