Court Imposes Access Block on bianet

Yazar / Referans: 

Access to all content of bianet which consists of more than 200 thousand news reports and articles shall be blocked according to the court order.

The Ankara 3rd Penal Judgeshp of Peace has ruled that access to 136 web addresses shall be blocked upon a request by the Gendarmerie General Command. Both the request and the order are dated July 16, 2019.

As well as the news portals, pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube were blocked. One of the websites that is included in the list is

The court neither informed bianet of the access block nor gave a justification for it. With this order, more than 200 thousand articles on bianet which has been running since 1998 will become inaccessible.

bianet, affiliated to the IPS Communication Foundation, is not only a news portal. It holds journalism workshops with the perspective of peace journalism for rights-based reporting to become widespread. It documents violations of freedom of expression and violence against women with the Media Monitoring Reports and the Male Violence Monitoring Reports.

The court order

"... The notice no. 3096743 dated July 16, 2019, sent by the Ministry of Interior General Command of Gendarmerie requested access to the mentioned URL addresses be blocked on the ground that they constitute the offenses in Article 8/A of the Law No. 5651.

"With the petition and its attachment being examined, it has been concluded for the contents published on the URL addresses mentioned above, a order for an access block or the removal of relevant content from the internet can be issued by the presiding judge upon a request by the Presidency regarding one or more of the reasons of protecting the safety of life and property, protecting the national security and the public order, preventing crimes and protecting public health upon the Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of Law. no 5651 and upon a request by relevant ministries regarding protecting national security and public order, preventing crime or protecting public health. The presiding judge shall immediately notify access providers and relevant content and domain providers. The orders for removal of content and/or access block are implemented within four hours after the order was announced.

"It was required to make the following ruling regarding the approval of the request: ..."

Click for the full text of the order (Turkish)

Attorney: Previously, only complained reports were blocked

Meriç Eyüboğlu, the attorney of bianet who filed an objection against the order, has said, "Previously, there were access block verdicts issued for articles on bianet. We applied against all of these decisions, we brought them to the Constitutional court.

"In both of our two applications, the Constitutional court concluded that the censorship orders violated the freedom of expression. Our other applications are still at the court.

"However, in the previous access block decisions, access to the news report that was the subject of the application (complaint) was blocked.

"But now, the judge concerned gave a order to block access to not to the report but to the entire website. Moreover, the judge did not need to base this order of censorship to any justification."

Relation to the Gezi Trial

Eyüboğlu said that they were not able to reach concrete information after their application to the court either and added that the order was issued on July 16, two days before the Gezi trial.

"Among the addresses that are blocked to access, accounts that posted regularly during the Gezi hearing (some of these do not share anything other than the Gezi hearings) made us think that the notice(!) by the Gendarmerie General Command is related to the Gezi trial.

"The fact that we are trying to learn about, understand and explain such a major order of censorship through guesses and assumptions is a clear indicator of how legal(!) is the action that we are facing.

"Moreover, these orders are not even issued to those concerned. We incidentally became informed of the order. Like the dozens of other addresses that are included in the verdict, bianet would also be dimmed without our knowledge."

"A legal scandal"

"Now, we are waiting, without knowing when will this decision will be implemented. According to the court, it is implemented 'in order'.

"A news portal that includes at least 200 thousand articles is being shut down without having to make any other inquiry. Those who issued this order do not even state a justification.

"How can this situation be named? To put it mildly, it is a legal scandal. It is a massive attack against freedom of expression and freedom of the press. It is a massive intervention... This order is a legal monstrosity.

"At this point, our wish is that the objection we made to be evaluated immediately and the removal of the order for access block. Otherwise, bianet, together with its readers, will do what is necessary to put the verdict to the dumpsite of bad verdicts."

Other websites in the order

Along with bianet, 15 other websites are mentioned in the order: Etha, Halkın Sesi TV, Özgür Gelecek,,, Gazete Fersude, Yeni Demokratik Gençlik, Umut Gazetesi, Kızıl Bayrak, Marksist Teori, Direnişteyiz, Mücadele Birliği and Antakya Sokak.

Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MP Oya Ersoy's twitter account is also included in the list. The total number of URLs in the list that also includes accounts on Facebook and Instagram is 136.