The US calls on Turkey to respect freedom of expression
The US State Department stressed the importance of freedom of expression after Turkey banned the country’s largest online community on Tuesday, citing "national security and public order."
"We call on our partners to refrain from prosecuting, fining broadcasters, blocking websites, suppressing the exchange of critical information, or taking any other action that could encourage censorship and self-censorship," the State Department said in a written statement to VOA Turkish.
"As we have stated many times, the freedom of expression of journalists and individuals with controversial or offensive rhetoric always strengthens democracy, and (that freedom) must be protected," it said.
Two days after blocking access to Eksi Sozluk, which has thousands of registered users and millions of daily visitors to its websites, community administrators said the website was blocked following a complaint by the Security Affairs Administration under the Turkish Presidency for allegedly violating Article 8/a of Law 5651.
The day after the blocking, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK), Turkey's radio and television regulator, decided to fine and suspend programs of opposition TV channels for their earthquake coverage.
The US State Department last month also condemned the harassment of a VOA Turkish reporter after asking a question to ultranationalist MHP (Nationalist Movement party) leader Devlet Bahceli.