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Court bans access to Google Sites website

(BIANET/IFEX) - The Second Criminal Court of Peace in Denizli, western Turkey, has banned access to Google Sites, which contains thousands of websites. The reason for the ban is not known.

Google Sites allows users to create their own websites and, as such, there are thousands of sites available.

The 24 June 2009 court ruling does not give any justification for the decision to ban Google Sites.

The Alternative Informatics Association has criticised the ban, calling for Internet users to protest to the Telecommunications Department by fax, email and telephone. It has also called for those who have sites on Google Sites to protest. The association has offered legal advice for anyone wanting to write a letter of objection or wanting to initiate legal action. It says that between 23 November 2007 and 11 May 2009, access was banned to 2,601 websites. Youtube, for example, has been closed to users in Turkey since 5 May 2008. Other sites used by millions of people, such as wordpress.com, geocities.com, myspace.com, dailymotion.com and alibaba.com have also been banned.

Alternative Informatics has criticised Turkey's authorities for their censorship and for their expectation that websites with users from around the world will abide by Turkish legislation. "The Internet is a space where thoughts can be expressed freely, but sites which contain dissident opinions are being banned one after the other."

For the association, access to the Internet and the ability to use it effectively "is one of our most basic rights". The association has called on people to defend this right.

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