"We want a secure internet without censorship" is the message of a signature campaign launched by more than one hundred academics in order to prevent the much disputed internet filtering system from being applied at universities. The campaign comes upon the initiative of the Alternative Communication Foundation and opposes the request to recognize universities as public places where the internet filter ought to be applied.
The so-called "Secure Internet" application was enforced by the Prime Ministry Telecommunication Association (BTK) on 22 November 2011. Some universities supported the internet filtering system. When it made the news that a related decision was taken by the senate, academics started to counteract the application.
Prof Mutlu Binark of the Başkent University and Prof. Kürşat Çağıltay of the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) are the leading figures of the campaign. The declaration claims that it is scientifically and ethically unacceptable to support the senate in this application that narrowed freedom of expression.
It is stated that the protection from possible negative effects of the internet could be managed by obtaining digital literacy skills.
In summary, the text to be signed emphasized the broad protests against the internet filtering system with reference to reports of the OSCE and other international reports that criticized the application on the grounds of a restriction of freedom of expression. The text also pointed to the annulment trial still pending before the Council of State. The university senate took the decision on behalf of the universities that are institutions of free opinion, science and universal values and hence it was impossible to support the senate in scientific and ethical terms, it was said.
"Universities should be places of critic, scientific and free opinion. It is absolutely thought-provoking and also dangerous to use these places as tools for pubic work", the campaign warned.
"The application was realized by the government as a central, arbitrary, non-transparent filtering and censoring system. The options provided do not remove the reality of censorship applied by the government. The application narrows the limits of freedom of expression and imposes a single type family/children design on our citizens", the text read.
The campaign underlined security as a requirement for all citizens and children in particular but emphasized that the filtering system does not provide a suitable solution. "The secure use of the internet can be achieved by digital literacy but not by an internet filter. A central filter is not being recommended in any democratic country. Unfortunately, Turkey is the only OSCE member state that applies a central filter system. Countries applying a central internet filtering system are e.g. North Korea, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia". (NV/VK)
* Signatures can be sent to the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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