(Source: bianet.org)

Turkey has been listed among the countries in which Internet freedoms are restricted most in US-based think tank Freedom House’s report.

Restrictions and bans on Internet have been examined for 65 countries as part of the study conducted by the US-based think tank Freedom House.

“Of the 65 countries assessed, 32 have been on an overall decline since June 2016”, the report said.

Among the countries where Internet freedom has declined are France, England and the United States. Internet freedom has improved in 13 countries.

The 21 countries where “Internet is not free”

Violation trends

* Major trends in restriction of Internet were listed as follows:

* Mobile activities were limited by the states

* More governments blocked live-streaming

* Technical attacks against media outlets, dissidents and rights defenders increased

* New restrictions were imposed on the VPNs

Dramatic increases occurred in physical attacks against Netizens (Internet citizens) and Internet journalists.

Turkey

Following information about Turkey took place in the report:

“ByLock” detail in the report

Pointing to the ByLock operations launched in the wake of July 15 coup attempt, the report said, “In Turkey, thousands of smartphone owners were arrested simply for having downloaded the encrypted communication app ByLock, which was available publicly through Apple and Google app stores, amid allegations that the app was used by those involved in the failed July 2016 coup attempt”.

Whatsapp

There are examples in the report about Turkey in terms of blocking access.

“WhatsApp remained the most targeted communication tool, experiencing disruptions in 12 of the 65 countries assessed. In Turkey, for example, the authorities regularly throttled traffic for WhatsApp to render it virtually inaccessible during politically charged events”.

Internet Trolls

The report also drew attention to “online manipulation” by the governing party, Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“In Turkey, numerous reports have referred to an organization of “AK Troller,” or “White Trolls,” named after the ruling Justice and Development Party, whose Turkish acronym AK also means “white” or ‘clean’.

“Some 6,000 people have allegedly been enlisted by the party to manipulate discussions, drive particular agendas, and counter government opponents on social media. Journalists and scholars who are critical of the government have faced orchestrated harassment on Twitter, often by dozens or even hundreds of users”. (PT/HK/EA/TK)

Click here to read the full report

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