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Turkish HC Set to Review Wikipedia’s Appeal Against Ban Today

Turkish High Court on Wednesday is all set to consider an appeal filed by Wikipedia seeking to repeal the Turkish government over a two-year ban on the online website.

Earlier in the year 2017, the country slammed Wikipedia and accused it of being hand in glove with a ‘smear campaign’ against Turkey, following the website’s denial to take off content that reportedly depicted the country as the one supporting the terrorist organization Islamic State.

Soon after the refusal of removing the alleged content by the online encyclopedia, the Turkish government decided to block all access to Wikipedia and all the language editions under the law that permits the country to ban those websites which appear as a threat to its national security.   

Meanwhile, the online website refused to eliminate the content from its community-generated website explaining its disagreement to censorship. Soon after the ban, the website approached Turkish Constitutional Court on May 2017 and filed a petition after dialog with leading Turkish officials. The website lost its challenge in the lower court. Wikipedia has also appealed the ban at European Court of Human Rights.

Today, Turkey’s constitutional Court is all set to begin the discussion to assess if the Turkish government’s ban on Wikipedia breaches freedom of expression. 

Meanwhile, Samantha Lien, communication manager of Wikipedia Foundation said, we did not buckle under the pressure by the Turkish Government to eradicate the content as we had faith that the alleged content was protecting the basic right freedom of expression in a legal manner. We decided to support our volunteer editor’s choice about what sort of content should be showcased on Wikipedia.

Lien told AP that in spite of the ban, the content, that was asked to be removed, underwent editing and improvement with more authentic sources from volunteers based all across the globe. Wikipedia carried a campaign at social media platform with the hashtag ‘WeMissTurkey’ and sought the uplifting of the block.

Lien had said that the online encyclopedia becomes more accurate and richer when scores of people from various corners of the world are in the position of contributing to its articles. And, the world will lose something if we get banned in one country, region or lose the participation of a particular culture on the website. 

According to reports, Turkey does not have a remarkable record on censorship of freedom of speech, and it gained further momentum soon after an unsuccessful military coup in the year 2016 against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime. Scores of people got arrested and removed from government jobs. The country also witnessed the closure of many media groups during this phase.

Wikipedia seems to be in the news these days as, on the other front, it has been officially added by popular Brave browser as an established publisher to its ever-growing list. This portal is expected to be ranked on the top 10 established websites on the Brave platform.

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