Alp Toker, Turkey Blocks: "Online censorship is increasingly used to mask more severe human rights violations"
19 Apr 2017
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

In a country marked by increasing authoritarianism, a strident crackdown on press and social media as well as numerous human rights violations, Turkish-British technologist Alp Toker brought together a small team to investigate internet restrictions. Using Raspberry Pi technology they built an open source tool able to reliably monitor and report both internet shut downs and power blackouts in real time. Using their tool, Turkey Blocks have since broken news of 14 mass-censorship incidents during several politically significant events in 2016. The tool has proved so successful that it has been implemented elsewhere globally.

2017 Freedom of Expression Digital Activism Award-winning Turkey Blocks was presented an illustration created by cartoonist Aseem Trivedi

2017 Freedom of Expression Digital Activism Award-winning Turkey Blocks was presented an illustration created by cartoonist Aseem Trivedi

Internet shutdowns – the wholesale censorship of millions of voices and silencing of entire populations – pose a grave threat to the media, democracy, most of all vulnerable communities and ordinary citizens. Since the invention of the world wide web we have come to rely on the internet for personal communication, news gathering, publishing and almost every aspect of our lives. That reliance has introduced a single point of failure which is now being exploited by authorities who seek to control narrative and restrict the flow of information on an unprecedented scale.

In 2015, I was in Ankara when so-called Islamic State launched a deadly terror attack, killing over a hundred people at a rally. In the hours that followed the authorities restricted access to social media and communication networks; victims were unable to contact their loved ones or reach out for help. Journalists were unable to contact eyewitnesses or ask critical questions so essential in a healthy democracy.

Our mission was born: Since then my organisation Turkey Blocks has developed new technology that can pinpoint and validate reports of shutdowns in real time. Through 2016 we uncovered evidence of over a dozen major blackouts during national emergencies, arrests of opposition party members and a devastating attempted military coup. We provided the data that enabled media, local press and international communities to report with confidence and push back to keep the internet on. We encouraged the government to become more transparent and limit use of their telecommunications kill-switch. Today our cause crosses political lines and resounds throughout Turkey’s polarised society.

Online censorship is increasingly used to mask more severe human rights violations – not just in Turkey, but from China, Vietnam, Pakistan, India, Kashmir, to Cameroon and Bahrain and all over the world. My team’s mission now extends beyond Turkey to cover several other countries as part of our NetBlocks observatory project. With new allies like Access Now and Index’s own Mapping Media Freedom project, standing alongside the global Open Source and open technology communities we send a unified message to those who seek to silence independent voices: as long as freedom of expression and digital rights are not safeguarded, our mission will continue and we will persist.

Alp Toker and Isik Mater of Digital Activism Award-winning Turkey Blocks at the 2017 Freedom of Expression Awards (Photo: Elina Kansikas for Index on Censorship)

Ildar Dadin is the 2017 Freedom of Expression Awards Fellow for Campaigning

Speech: Ildar Dadin: “Together, we can refuse to look away”

Profile: #IndexAwards2017: Ildar Dadin courageously defends the right to protest in Russia

For his one-man protests, Ildar Dadin was sent to prison in December 2015 where he was tortured, before his conviction was quashed in February 2017. Read the full profile.

Chinese cartoonist Rebel Pepper is the 2017 Freedom of Expression Awards Fellow for Arts.

Speech: Rebel Pepper: “I will continue working hard on creating new cartoons”

Profile: #IndexAwards 2017: Chinese cartoonist Rebel Pepper refuses to put down his pen

Despite the persecution he faces for his work, Rebel Pepper continues to satirise the Chinese state from a life in exile in Japan. Read the full profile

Turkey Blocks is the 2017 Freedom of Expression Awards Fellow for Digital Activism

Speech: Alp Toker, Turkey Blocks: “Online censorship is increasingly used to mask more severe human rights violations”

Profile: #IndexAwards2017: Turkey Blocks strives to win back the internet

Established in 2015, Turkey Blocks is an independent digital research organisation that monitors internet access restrictions in Turkey. Read the full profile.

Maldives Independent is the 2017 Freedom of Expression Awards Fellow for Journalism

Speech: Zaheena Rasheed, Maldives Independent: “This award feels like a lifeline”

Profile: #IndexAwards2017: Maldives Independent continues to hold government to account despite pressures

Maldives Independent, the Maldives’ premiere English publication and one of the few remaining independent media outlets, was formed in exile in Sri Lanka in 2004. Read the full profile.

Milyonlarca sesi toptan susturan internet kesintileri, medya ve demokrasinin etkili çalışmasını engelliyor ve en önemlisi, savunmasız toplulukların ve vatandaşların hayatını zorlaştırıyor. İcat edilmesinden bu yana, kişisel iletişim, haber alma, yayınlama gibi pek çok yönden internete bel bağlamış durumdayız. İnternetin yaşantımızda bu kadar büyük bir yer kaplaması, erişimin kısıtlanması durumunda büyük boşluk yaratıyor.

IŞİD’in Ekim 2015’te Ankara Garı yakınlarında düzenlenen miting sırasında gerçekleştirerek yüzlerce kişinin ölümüne sebep olduğu, Türkiye tarihinin en ölümcül terör saldırısı sırasında ben de Ankara’daydım. Saldırının hemen akabinde yetkililer sosyal medyaya ve iletişim ağlarına erişimi kısıtladılar; o sırada mitingde bulunanlar ailelerine ulaşıp “ben iyiyim” diyemediler, yaralı olanlar için yardım isteyemediler. Gazeteciler, her sağlıklı demokraside olması gereken bilgiye ulaşma özgürlüğünden mahrum bırakıldılar. Görgü tanıklarıyla iletişime geçip, olaylarla ilgili ayrıntıları öğrenemedikleri için konuyla ilgili haber yapmakta zorlandılar.

Görevimiz artık belliydi. O günden itibaren Turkey Blocks organizasyonu olarak, internet engellemelerini gerçek zamanlı olarak saptayabilen ve doğrulayabilen yeni bir teknoloji geliştirdik. 2016 yılı süresince, ulusal krizler, muhalefet partisi üyelerinin tutuklanması ve askeri darbe girişimi gibi olaylar sırasında ülke çapında ondan fazla kesintiye dair bulgular elde ettik. Elde ettiğimiz veriler, medya, yerel basın ve uluslararası organizasyonların internet kullanıcılarına doğru ve ayrıntılı bilgi vermelerini ve kullanıcıların internet kesintilerine karşı durabilmelerini sağladı. Hükümeti daha şeffaf olmaya ve internet kesintilerini en aza indirgemesini teşvik ettik. Girişimimiz bugün siyasi sınırları aşarak, ayrım gözetmeksizin tüm Türkiye’ye bilgi sağlıyor.

Dijital sansür, sadece Türkiye’de değil. Çin, Vietnam, Pakistan, Hindistan, Keşmir, Kamerun ve Bahreyn gibi dünyanın birçok ülkesinde meydana gelen ve gittikçe ciddileşen insan hakları ihlallerini gizlemek için giderek daha çok kullanılmakta. Ekibimizin yeni misyonu, NetBlocks gözlemleme projesi dahilinde, Türkiye dışındaki diğer ülkelere de ulaşmak. Access Now ve Index on Censorship’in Mapping Media Freedom Projesi gibi müttefiklerle birlikte küresel Açık Kaynak, Özgür Yazılım ve açık teknoloji topluluklarının yanında yer alarak, bağımsız sesleri susturmak isteyenlere ortak mesajımızı gönderiyoruz: Misyonumuz, ifade özgürlüğü ve dijital haklarımız korunmadığı sürece var olacak ve yolumuza devam edeceğiz.

Cartoonists Rights Network International continues to monitor the loss of cartoonists from media outlets around the world

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Se abre el plazo para nominar a las Becas de los Premios a la Libertad de Expresión de Index on Censorship 2020

Ya están abiertas las nominaciones a las Becas de los Premios a la Libertad de Expresión de Index on Censorship.

«Индекс Цензуры» открыл прием заявок на получение «Наград за свободу слова» на 2020 год

Награды присуждаются журналистам, гражданским активистам, интернет-активистам и деятелям искусства, которые борются с цензурой во всем мире Победители получают комплексную поддержку в течение года Номинироваться можно на сайте indexoncensorship.org/nominations Номинации открыты с 1 июля по 31 июля 2019 года #IndexAwards2020 This press release is also available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Portuguese, Spanish Номинации на получение «Наград [...]

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•该奖项旨在奖励全球反对审查制度的记者、活动家、数字活动家和艺术家 •获奖者将得到为期一年的综合援助支持 •请在indexoncensorship.org/nominations网站提名 •提名于2019年7月1日至7月31日期间开放 •#IndexAwards2020 This press release is also available in Arabic, English, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish “审查目录”言论自由奖提名现已开放。该奖项已有二十年历史,旨在表彰世界上最杰出之捍卫言论自由英雄。 2020年将迎来言论自由奖二十周年庆,多年来共有87杰出人士位获奖者。自2015年来“审查目录”已扩大奖项计划,支持22名获奖者在国际间开展捍卫言论自由的工作。 该奖项旨在支持世界各地各阶层活动家。历年获奖者包括洪都拉斯调查记者Wendy Funes,叙利亚漫画家Ali Farzat、巴基斯坦教育活动家马拉拉(Malala Yousafzai)、沙特阿拉伯调查记者Safa Al Ahmad和南非LGBTI摄影师Zanele Muholi。 “审查目录”诚挚邀请公众、公民社会组织、非营利组织和媒体组织提名在全球范围内反对审查制度中应得到表彰和支持的任何个人或组织。 我们在以下四个领域各提供一个奖项: •艺术创作:包括艺术家和艺术出品人,他们的作品挑战压迫和不公并倡导艺术自由表达。该提名可包括视觉艺术家、音乐家、漫画家及创意作家。个人或创作集体均可提名。 •活动家:旨在奖励为在反对审查制度和促进当地言论自由方面产生显着影响的活动家和活动人士开展活动。个人或组织提名均可。 •数字行动:旨在奖励为研发开创性技术以绕过审查制度从而实现信息自由和独立交流。提名包含手机应用程序,数字工具或软件。 •新闻工作:旨在奖励勇敢和坚定的新闻报道,揭露审查制度同言论自由所受威胁,要求信息公开。提名包括博客作家、新闻媒体和调查性非营利组织。 所有获奖者都将得到为期12个月的指导,网络及战略支持。获奖者将于年初(2020年4月)受邀参加于伦敦举办为期一周的研讨会、培训及公众活动,期间住宿及其他相关费用由主办方提供。在这一年中,“审查目录”将与获奖者深入合作以提升其工作的影响力、形象及可持续性。 “审查目录”公司首席执行官朱迪·金斯伯格表示:“言论自由奖向世界展示了20年来最无畏、最未被颂扬的言论自由捍卫者。我们试图褒奖那些推动言论自由的团体和个人的工作,他们往往承受巨大的困难及危险。近年来,我们扩大了奖项计划,给予获奖者有针对性的支持和培训来扩大他们的影响。用您的声音提名言论自由奖以确保他们的声音被世人听到。” 2020年奖项候选名单将于2020年初公布。获奖者将由一个高规格的评审小组选出,并于2020年4月在伦敦举行的颁奖仪式上宣布。提名将于2019年7月1日至2019年7月31日下午五时英国标准时间开放。 言论自由奖于2001年启动,旨在提升全球捍卫言论自由的个人和组织的形象。 有关奖项及更多相关信息,请联系Sean Gallagher,电子邮件:[email protected] 关于言论自由奖 2020年将迎来言论自由奖二十周年庆,多年来共有87位获奖者获奖。自2015年来“审查目录”已扩大奖项计划,支持22名获奖者在国际间开展捍卫言论自由的工作。 2020年度获奖者都将获得为期12个月的指导,网络及战略支持。更多信息 关于“审查目录” “审查目录”是一家总部位于伦敦的非营利组织,负责发表被禁作家和艺术家的作品及反对全球审查制度的活动。自1972年成立以来,“审查目录”在其屡获殊荣的季刊中发表了世界著名文学家的作品,包括萨缪尔·贝克特、纳丁·戈迪默、马里奥·巴尔加斯·略萨、亚瑟·米勒和库尔特·冯内古特。并出版了从哈维尔到埃利夫·沙法克等世界世界知名政论作家的作品。 An upcoming review of the Prevent counter-extremism programme is at risk of [...]

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