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Websites targeted by cyber attacks after supporting anti-censorship demonstrations

(RSF/IFEX) - 18 May 2011 - Several websites that backed anti-censorship demonstrations held on 15 May have been intermittently inaccessible since then because of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. The targets include the site of the left-wing daily Birgün, the news site http://www.haber.sol.org.tr and the media freedom website Bianet.

"We are going to carry on publishing under alternative addresses in case we should become the subject of similar attacks in the future," Bianet announced today after being inaccessible for eight hours yesterday. "If this should occur, the alternative address will be published on Twitter and via other channels."

More than 10,000 people took part in demonstrations against online censorship that were held in Istanbul and around 30 other Turkish cities on 15 May. They were protesting against changes to media and Internet censorship legislation, above all a provision that would make it obligatory to install online filtering software on all home computers. The measure is due to take effect on 22 August.

Both the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Union have condemned the measure as an attack on freedom of expression and have asked Turkey not to implement it.

"This regulation would limit the right of individuals to access information they want," OSCE media freedom representative Dunja Mijatovic said yesterday. Natasha Butler, the spokesperson for the EU commissioner for enlargement, said the targets of any filtering measures should be selected carefully and should be "proportional."

Reporters Without Borders supports the OSCE and EU positions and urges the Turkish authorities to withdraw this measure. It also calls on them to end the censorship that is already arbitrarily affecting thousands of websites, and to start by amending Law 5651 on Internet crimes.

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