The Freedom of Expression Association (“İfade Özgürlüğü Derneği – IFÖD”), based in Istanbul, released EngelliWeb’s 2022 report The Constitutional Court in the Shadow of Criminal Judgeships of Peace in English. The report’s authors are Yaman Akdeniz, Professor at the Faculty of Law, Istanbul Bilgi University, and expert researcher Ozan Güven.
EngelliWeb is an award-winning civil society initiative that has been reporting on Internet censorship and related judicial and administrative decisions in Türkiye since 2008.
Short Synopsis of the Report
The EngelliWeb 2022 report, as a continuation of the 2018-2021 EngelliWeb reports, is entitled The Constitutional Court in the Shadow of Criminal Judgeships of Peace. This is because, as will be seen in the report and as in previous years, thousands of news articles and other content of public interest were blocked, removed from publication, censored, and deleted from the archives as a result of the “personal rights violations” decisions. Thematically, the 2022 report will demonstrate that the decisions of the Constitutional Court are ineffective, that since September 2020, it has not ruled on the applications submitted under article 8/A of Law No. 5651, that although the decisions of the criminal judgeships of peace under this provision completely ignore the jurisprudence and the principled approach of the Constitutional Court, no pilot decision has been implemented and structural problems have not been identified. More seriously, the 2022 report will also detail that, despite identifying “structural problems” with article 9 of Law No. 5651 in October 2021, the Constitutional Court did not implement its own “pilot judgment” and did not rule on any article 9 applications in 2022, thus becoming part of the ongoing problem and turning into an ineffective domestic remedy.
In addition to these evaluations, as part of the EngelliWeb project, it was found that the number of domain names, websites, news articles, social media accounts, and social media content that have been blocked from Türkiye and/or have been subject to content removal decisions significantly increased in 2022. In this context, the number of websites blocked from Türkiye reached 712.558 by the end of 2022.
The main purpose of the publication of this report is to ensure that the permanent damage caused by censorship is not completely erased from collective memory and to document the extent of censorship in Türkiye with examples, as in previous reports. Within this context, the website of the Freedom of Expression Association became active in 2020, and the EngelliWeb section of the website and the EngelliWeb Twitter account started sharing news and announcements about blocked websites and domain names that were also included in this report, as well as news content, social media accounts and other content to which access has been blocked and/or content that has been decided to be removed. As will be noted in this 2022 report, as a result of these publications, the Freedom of Expression Association became the target of a series of requests and decisions to block access and remove content from its website.
Read the report here or download the publication below.