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Twitter claims court victory but ban remains in place

29 March 2014

Twitter has won a court action to lift a ban on one of its accounts which shows a tweet that accuses a former government minister of corruption.

Istanbul’s Criminal Court stressed the factor of public interest in governance and reportedly said:“State institutions should refrain from actions and procedures that may limit an individual’s freedom of thought and opinion.”

The social media site agreed to remove two of the three accounts which they said breached its own terms and conditions but fought off the government in court to keep the third account visible to users in Turkey.

Speaking from San Francisco on Friday, Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s general counsel said that it was an “exceptionally strong win for freedom of expression” and that the account which had been blocked only in Turkey would be reinstated at once.

In a blog post she wrote that the decision will “be of paramount value for us in protecting Twitter’s users against other attempts at censorship in the future”.

However, this ruling does not affect the ban on Twitter in Turkey, which a Turkish court overruled. The court said that freedom of expression was enshrined in the constitution.

“We will continue to fight to have the ban lifted on behalf of the millions of people in Turkey who have come to rely on Twitter as a vital communications tool,” Gadde wrote.

On Thursday, You Tube also became the subject of a ban in Turkey by the government. The website made public a recording top of Turkish officials in a highly sensitive conversation about what action to take on Syria.

President Gul yesterday roundly condemned the leak saying that those responsible for the wiretapping had committed an “act of espionage”, would be weeded out and shown “no tolerance”.

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