After YouTube, Turkey moves to ban video sharing site Vimeo

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Turkish courts have famously banned video sharing juggernaut YouTube several times since March 2007. The site still isn’t accessible, despite the fact that Turkey’s president Abdullah Gül used his Twitter account last June to express disapproval of the country’s blocking of YouTube. Gül at the time said he had instructed officials to find legal ways of allowing access.

But now we’re getting multiple tips about Turkey imposing a new ban on video sharing site Vimeo (an IAC company), and chatter on Twitter suggests this is in fact the case – see #censorshipinturkey and #vimeo for more.

Ironically, Vimeo earlier this month announced the shortlist of videos from its first international Vimeo Awards, which the company organizes to find some of the most creative and innovative video productions online. You guessed it, one of the finalists was actually a video made by a Turkish user.

Arda Kutsal of Webrazzi, our main TechCrunch Europe contributor in Turkey, tells us:

“We don’t know the reason but it may be due to copyright infringement or a video insulting a person. It is just banned as a precaution for now. If Vimeo contacts the authorities and removes the problem content, then the site can be unbanned in 1-10 days.”

We’re updating this post as we learn more.

Update: Murat Guzel, Editor in Chief of PC Extra Magazine checks in:

Vimeo has been blocked for precautional purpuses upon request of a Turkish court, which is part of an ongoing investigation held by the Ankara Prosecution Office. The investigation is related to a video which was published on Vimeo.com, claimed to be recorded secretly via a hidden camera and claimed to belong to a member of the parliament and another person, in which this video is in an act of violating personal life/rights via online or offline media.

Whether so called victim of this video are either a member of the parliament or an ordinary citizen, laws apply for every one of us. Even our president Abdullah Gul has criticised this specific law about banning sites two times in the last 7 days, laws can not change from today to tomorrow.

Our current laws strictly forbids acts of violating personal life, although our judges reluctantly give orders to ban sites which contain materials that contain such videos violating our laws.

I was lucky to reach the attorney who signed this precautional banning order and got the reason behind it, as I’ve outlined briefly above.


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(Top image via ntvmsnbc, screenshot courtesy of @kitiarauthmatar)

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