Digital citizenship from below: Turkish State versus Youtube

Murat Akser, Banu Baybars Hawks

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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    Abstract was banned in Turkey by several court orders on March 6, 2007. Through a series of on and off court orders the ban was lifted and reinstated multiple times. The ban was lifted on October 30, 2010 and reinstated again on March 27, 2014, this time remaining in force until December 25, 2016. All in all, access to YouTube was denied to Turkish public for nearly seven years within a decade spanning between 2007-2016. During this time Turkish Telecommunications Board blocked all access on the internet to the YouTube site. Yet Turkish citizens found several innovative digital ways to bypass this ban. At the same time several citizens’ rights groups were formed that question the legal, ethical and political aspects of the ban. On the legal side, citizen rights groups took the ban to court to appeal this ban on the national level eventually overturning it through Turkish Constitutional court. At the international level scholars and common citizens alike expressed their concern for freedom of expression of citizens in a democratic polity. On the ethical side, Turkish citizens willfully and knowingly bypassed this ban and exercised their right for freedom of expression without feeling the guilt and remorse of an illegal activity thus displaying a quality required for establishment of an autonomous public sphere and civil society that fills this sphere. Politically, this counter reaction to government censorship policies is a result of EU freedom of speech process initiated by citizens rather than state elites. There are other types of internet bans still in place in Turkey such as Wikipedia ban which was imposed on 29 April 2017. This study aims to give a historically situated analysis of the situation as seen by Turkish internet users using content and discourse analysis of different Turkish online citizen activities during the first ban period between 2007-10. The content is used from online Turkish anonymous user platform, eksi sozluk, (sour dictionary) is used to test whether there is civil society response to the ban which both parties claimed to be testing the density and frequency of this response.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 32nd International Business Information Management Association Conference, IBIMA 2018 - Vision 2020
    Subtitle of host publicationSustainable Economic Development and Application of Innovation Management from Regional expansion to Global Growth
    EditorsKhalid S. Soliman
    PublisherInternational Business Information Management Association, IBIMA
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Electronic)9780999855119
    ISBN (Print)978-0-9998551-1-9
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jan 2019
    Event32nd International Business Information Management Association Conference, IBIMA 2018 - Seville, Spain
    Duration: 15 Nov 201816 Nov 2018


    Conference32nd International Business Information Management Association Conference, IBIMA 2018


    • YouTube
    • media
    • communication
    • censorship
    • Turkey


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