MOSCOW, October 3 (RIA Novosti) - The ruling of Turkey's Constitutional Court to decrease the power of the country's telecommunications watchdog TIB in blocking websites is important for advancing freedom of speech in Turkey, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said on Friday.
"This ruling constitutes an important and long-awaited step forward for free expression on the Internet in Turkey," OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic said, adding that the OSCE recognizes that protecting national security is the prerogative of a state, but "the authorities must also ensure that these measures do not curb the fundamental right to free expression."
On Thursday, Turkey's Constitutional Court annulled a part of law, which expanded the powers of TIB. The law, passed by the Turkish parliament in September, allowing the telecommunications authority to block websites within four hours and without prior court orders on the grounds of preventing crime or protecting public order. It also allowed TIB to store online communications and traffic data for up to two years. The measures caused discontent among representatives of the country's opposition as well as among average internet users, concerned with possible violations of their freedom of expression and right to obtain information.