The Turkish government has further cracked down on internet access by announcing a block on YouTube on Thursday. The latest restriction follows a ban on Twitter earlier this month, a move that aims to stifle anti-government sentiment in the public, especially given the recent local elections on March 30.
The use of Facebook and Twitter among other social networks has been considered a hugely powerful tool during the Arab Spring and other recent uprisings, enabling protesters to communicate with one another and document their struggle to the outside world when media access was unavailable.
But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan argues that social networks have enabled the spread of wiretapped recordings that undermine politicians. The YouTube ban reportedly came after a video surfaced of government officials discussing the possibility of going to war with Syria, while the government’s Twitter block was down to a the microblog refusing to take down an account accusing a former minister of corruption. Twitter has protested the ban which could reportedly be overturned in the future.
Turkey is far from the first nation to restrict access to social networking sites. The above map shows the six other countries that are currently blocking Facebook, Twitter or YouTube in some capacity, while many more have implemented temporary bans in recent years amidst fears of protests.
The nation continues a chain of geographically connected Asian states that all restrict access to at least one major social network. There are conflicting reports that the tiny African nation Eritrea hasn’t actually blocked YouTube, rather its poor infrastructure simply doesn’t have enough bandwidth.
Iran and China have both blocked the Holy Trinity of social networking in heavily politicised circumstances - though the former is fairly on and off with its restrictions - while Pakistan reportedly blocked YouTube in September 2012 after the video site refused to take down an anti-Islam video that sparked protests in the country. Vietnam’s Facebook block is questionable, with many citizens saying it is easy to bypass and that they use the network.
Then there’s North Korea, who hasn’t specifically targeted social networking so much as virtually restricted all internet access to its public. The limited web use in the DPRK is mostly for government purposes and computer technology remains out of the reach of the majority of North Korean citizens. However, Supreme Leader and Cognac lover Kim Jong-il reportedly loved “surfing the web”.
[Image via Mother Jones]