Turkey imposes news blackout after deadly bombings

AP, AFP-JIJI, Reuters

Turkey’s government says it has imposed a temporary news blackout following two blasts that killed scores of people who were gathering for a peace rally in the capital, Ankara.

A government spokesman said the blackout Saturday covered images showing the moment of the blast, gruesome or bloody images or “images that create a feeling of panic.”

He warned media organizations they could face a “full blackout” if they did not comply.

On Saturday, many people in Ankara reported being unable to access Twitter and other social media websites after the blasts. It was not clear if authorities had blocked access to the websites.

Turkey frequently imposes blackouts following attacks.

In July, a Turkish court ordered a ban on publishing images of a deadly suicide bombing near the border with Syria on all print, visual and online media, including Twitter.

Parliament in April approved legislation to tighten control over the Internet by allowing the government to block websites without prior judicial authorization.

The government blocked Twitter and YouTube in March 2014 after they were used to spread a torrent of audio recordings implicating Erdogan — then prime minister — and his inner circle in an alleged corruption scandal.

Turkish police on Friday detained the editor of a newspaper close to an Islamic cleric and foe of Erdogan on allegations of insulting the president, fueling concerns about a clampdown on media ahead of a Nov. 1 election.

Today’s Zaman chief editor Bulent Kenes was detained at its Istanbul offices, the Dogan news agency said.

The newspaper is sympathetic to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and is fiercely critical of the government.

Erdogan accuses Gulen of seeking to overthrow him by means of a “parallel structure” of supporters in the judiciary, police, the media and other institutions.

  • Isn’t this the second bombing at a peace rally in Turkey I seem to remember one about 12 months ago?