Turkey’s ‘First Lady’ seeks to censor negative reports about her in Internet

According to an article written by Dean Sterling Jones titled “First Lady of Lumen’ published in “Shooting the Messenger” basing on the data assured by the Lumen Database, a website that collects and analyses online takedown requests, Emine Erdoğan, who is the wife of autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan so she is Turkey’s First Lady, sent a Turkish court order complaint to Google and WordPress demanding the removal of news reports describing them as “damaging” to her “personality rights.”

“Personality rights” refers to “the right of an individual to control the commercial use of his or her name, image, likeness, or other unequivocal aspects of one’s identity.” However, according to the article Most of the targeted URLs, including one of the WordPress blogs, have since been removed from the web, making it difficult to determine the specifics of Erdoğan’s complaint. From the remaining URLs, it appears that she objected to a blitz of negative news reports and images.

Other targeted URLs include a Google blog post about Turkey’s nationwide Twitter ban, another since-deleted story that implicates the Turkish First Lady in a corruption scandal, and an article that appears to suggest that Turkish citizens who insult their government will be deported and have their citizenship revoked.

It’s not the first time the Erdoğans have petitioned Google and WordPress to delete negative reports about themselves from the web.

The article has also reminded the successful attempts by the Turkish President in 2016 to block a WordPress blog featuring satirical cartoons depicting him as a tyrannical dictator. That story was subsequently picked up by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Maren Williams, and touched on by The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markey. Earlier this year, the easily offended president asked Google to delist “hurtful, humiliating” reports comparing him to Adolf Hitler. That story was subsequently picked up by Techdirt’s Tim Cushing.

Turkey has become once again the leading country among the countries that have censored and requested removal of content from the Twitter most, according to a transparency report covering between Jan. 1- Jun.30, 2017.

Turkish Interior Ministry has stated on August 7, 2016 that 3,710 people have been the subject of legal proceedings and 1,656 were arrested between March and Augustus 2016 due to social media posts.As of the end of 2016, at least 10,000 people were under investigation on committing alleged crime of making terrorist propaganda and insulting senior state officials on social media.

According to figures released by the Ministry of Interior Affairs in December 2016, 3,710 social media users had been investigated in the last six months of 2016, of whom 1,656 were arrested. A total of 1,203 of those investigations resulted in releases on probation.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has showed that 280 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of September 30, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 255 are arrested pending trial, only 25 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 134 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

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