Twitter ‘closely watches’ suppression in Turkey: Executive

Istanbul, June 25 () - A top Twitter executive has said the company “knows and is closely watching” pressure on Twitter from Turkey, speaking during a visit to Turkey’s Press Council on June 24.

Twitter’s Public Policy Director for Europe Sinéad McSweeney said Turkey currently ranked first in the world in censorship on Twitter, with Ankara demanding the confidential information of some Twitter users in Turkey. McSweeney vowed that the company would not share any IP addresses with third parties.

“We know and are closely watching ongoing pressure through Twitter” McSweeney told the Press Council, also referring to the fact that last year Turkey became the third country in the world to ban access to Twitter, tarnishing the country’s international reputation.

She added that censorship in Turkey is featured prominently in a transparency report that the popular microblog releases twice a year.

Press Council President Pınar Türenç admitted that Turkey “is experiencing hardship on press freedom,” speaking after the meeting which brought together McSweeney, Twitter Public Policy Director for Turkey Emine Etili, Press Council Vice President Murat Önok, and Press Council High Commission member Okşan Atasoy.

“Media freedom is not applied practically. Journalists who criticize the government are being tracked. Some are punished for crimes they did not commit ... Arresting journalists should be stopped. Journalists are not terrorists. Hundreds of journalists are unemployed. They cannot write their reports and commentaries freely and this leads to self-censorship. Critical media outlets, meanwhile, are facing financial problems with the state,” Türenç said.

The Press Council and Twitter executives agreed in the meeting to collaborate to combat the suspension of journalists’ Twitter accounts.

McSweeney also briefed on Twitter’s policies regarding violent and abusive content, saying the best way to block violent and abusive tweets was to report such accounts to Twitter.

“We are against violence. Violence does not abide by our rules” she added.

 

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