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Turkey’s latest attempt at online censorship has backfired

While netizens know how to use security tools like VPNs and the Tor browser to bypass censorship, blocking a news site can backfire — and censored platforms may gain more popularity as a result.

This seems to be happening now in Turkey. Following the news that the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) was banned by Turkish authorities on June 30 amid licensing issues, the search rate for the site rose among citizens.

“DW is probably more popular now than it was before the ban, which is easy to circumvent,” DW Internet Freedom Specialist Oliver Lino tweeted.

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DW was not the only victim of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) – the government’s communications regulator – though. Voice of America (VOA), the news outlet of the US Agency for Worldwide Media, has been censored for failing to comply with new broadcast requirements.

Yolanda Lopez, Acting Director of Voice of America She expressed her opposition Against RTÜK’s efforts to “censor unfavorable press coverage.” At the same time, she told readers, “By gimmicks and other means, the Voice of America will not be deterred.”

Why does Turkey censor the news site?

in official speech (Opens in a new tab)The Turkish regulator explained that the ban on DW and VOA was required by law because they failed to apply for the necessary broadcasting license. In February, both DW and VOA were already ordered to comply with requirements to continue operating in the country.

Although RTÜK claims to “support pluralism, a free press and free reporting by media organizations,” international media outlets have expressed concerns about media freedom in the country.

In Turkey, 90% of the national media is now under government control, according to Reporters Without Borders (Opens in a new tab).

DW’s general manager, Peter Limburg, said the company decided not to comply out of fear that such a license would comply. Allowing the Turkish government to censor (Opens in a new tab) Content.

“Licensed media in Turkey are required to remove online content that RTUK interprets as inappropriate. This is simply not acceptable for an independent broadcaster,” he said, noting that DW would now take legal action against the blocking.

Additionally, CPJ Program Coordinator in Europe and Central Asia Gulnoza Saeed denounced the move (Opens in a new tab)Calling the media watchdog to repeal the ban. “Turkish authorities’ censorship of international broadcasters Voice of America and Deutsche Welle is the latest attempt to silence critical media as the country prepares for elections next year,” she said.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

How can a VPN help

Using one of the best VPN services can allow users to access censored websites easily. How? VPN is a security tool that hides your real IP address, while securing your data while in transit within an encrypted tunnel.

People in Turkey will then be able to trick their ISP into thinking they are in a completely different location to browse all the blocked websites and protect their online activities.

With more than 245,000 blocked websites between 2014 and 2018 alone, a law regulating social media platforms and a controversial disinformation bill on the way, people who live in or visit the Anatolian peninsula may simply want to consider a good VPN for Turkey to escape the strict censorship and invasive surveillance practices.

When it comes to choosing the best service, be sure to look for tight encryption, additional security features, and reliable geo-blocking capabilities. Our #1 recommendation is ExpressVPN that you can try it risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

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